Hundreds more residents in the Florida Panhandle were evacuated Saturday as a wildfire propelled by trees toppled by Hurricane Michael four years ago spread further through dryness and powerful winds.
Hundreds of thousands of felled trees caused by Hurricane Category 2018 winds and high humidity have created “the perfect storm” for dangerous fire conditions in Bay County, Fla., Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in Panama City.
“This is not a surprise,” DeSantis said at a news conference Saturday in Panama town.
DeSantis praised the firemen for rescuing dozens of homes overnight.
By Saturday afternoon the fire in Adkins Avenue, at an area of 1.500 hectares, had been 30 percent contained, the Florida Forest Service said.
The far greater Bertha Swamp fire first began Friday in neighboring Gulf County but spread to Bay and Calhoun counties on Saturday, forcing the evacuation of approximately 150 additional houses.
The much larger Bertha Marshes fire has been scorching in Bay County since Friday, forcing the evacuation of at least 600 homes; by Sunday morning, it was 35% contained.
At the news conference, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis advised evacuated homeowners to contact their insurers, saying they would accelerate the process for claim claims should their homes be damaged or destroyed.
Gov. DeSantis Is in Bay County Responding to Wildfire Damages https://t.co/ylHp9T4PtA
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 5, 2022
Fire activity is increasing on the #AdkinsAvenueFire in Bay County as winds pickup and fan the flames. The fire remains at 1,400 acres and 30% contained.
Residents are urged to be vigilant and protect themselves. Learn how at https://t.co/vfnVU7SLVR pic.twitter.com/6SMYJKjYo2
— FFS Chipola (@FFS_Chipola) March 5, 2022
As conditions remain dry, we've already seen an uptick in wildfires across the area lately. Do you part, exercise caution with any outdoor activities remotely related to fire. Watch out for reduced visibilities as well due to smoke, and fog potential overnight. #FLwx #ALwx #GAwx pic.twitter.com/0Bx9mJNUOX
— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) March 4, 2022
WILDFIRE UPDATE: There are currently 148 wildfires burning more than 7,100 acres across Florida. More than half of the acres are from the #AdkinsAvenueFire & #BerthaSwampRoadFire in the Panhandle. Active wildfires can be viewed at https://t.co/lFkV9gFkD5 https://t.co/IgJlO0YkWp
— Florida Forest Service (@FLForestService) March 5, 2022