CALHOUN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Bertha Swamp Road fire has more than doubled in size.
The fire grew from around 14,000 acres Monday night to more than 28,000 acres.
As a result, some residents of southwest Calhoun County have made the difficult decision to leave their homes.
Carol Wiggins and her family live in Kinard, east of County Road 12.
She said they have been watching the Bertha Swamp Road fire very carefully and made the call that it was too close for comfort.
“We’ve been kind of getting ready since yesterday but as it gets closer we are packing up everything that is vital to us and was going to head out hopefully in the next 10-15 minutes,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins added she was not expecting the fire to double in size overnight.
Fire officials from all over the state are doing everything they can to fight the flames.
“Right now with the winds shifting and everything like they are doing, we’re nervous about it encroaching on houses here in Calhoun County,” Kinard Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jody Daniels. “Right now there are no houses in danger but with what the fire did yesterday, we’re really concerned if it grows in size like it did yesterday that we may have a problem this afternoon.”
But Daniels stresses that there are currently no mandatory evacuations.
“It is an optional evacuation,” Daniels said. “We don’t want to pull the trigger on that yet. Were still thing the weather to see what it does. If it gets across [County Road] 12 then we will make some decisions there in order to get residents and citizens safe.”
Wiggins however, didn’t want to take any chances.
“It’s just the unknown. It’s heart-wrenching because our whole life is right here and just knowing that when we wake up tomorrow it might not be here,” Wiggins said.
Bay County officials moved their mobile command center from the Panama City Mall to the Calhoun County Airport Tuesday night.
They said it will be of more assistance to those battling the Bertha Swamp Road fire.