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10 P.M. UPDATE: The Florida Forest Service said first responders battled the three Chipola Complex wildfires in the dry, windy weather while fire danger levels remained elevated.

The Bertha Swap Road Fire is estimated to be 14,000 acres and 10 percent contained. Mandatory evacuations for the Bear Creek area remain in effect.

FFS said the Adkins Avenue Fire is 875 acres and 50 percent contained. All evacuation orders for the surrounding area, including all homes south of Highway 231 to U.S. 98 to Transmitter Road, have been lifted.

Residents are encouraged to remain cautious.

The Star Avenue Fire is estimated to be 250 acres and is 60 percent contained.

Residents at the Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home were evacuated from the facility on Sunday, but they were able to return on Monday.

Residents can view an interactive map of wildfires in the area, and the community is encouraged to visit BeWildfireReadyFL.com to learn how to prevent and prepare for wildfires.


News 13 at 6:00 PM UPDATE

Bertha Swamp Road Fire Update

Bertha Swamp Road Fire Evacuation Zones
Bertha Swamp Road Fire Map

Adkins Avenue Evacuees returning home

Star Avenue Fire & Sims Nursing Home update

Adkins Avenue Fire & Star Avenue Fire Map

Bay District Schools Monday Update

Clothing donations for wildfire victims

Calhoun County Wolf-Dog Rescue Operation

Bear Creek Feline Center prepares for fire

Over 80 cats saved from wildfires


News 13 LIVE at 5:00 PM UPDATE

Full Chipola Complex Fire News Conference

Adkins Avenue Fire Evacuees Returning Home

Latest weather forecast


4:15 PM UPDATE: The evacuation order is lifted for the Adkins Avenue fire. Bay County Emergency Services news release is below:

MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER LIFTED FOR FOLLOWING AREAS

The mandatory evacuation order for homes south of U.S. 231 to U.S. 98 and between Transmitter Rd. and Star Ave. has been LIFTED.

Fire personnel and law enforcement have deemed it safe for residents living in this area to return home. The #AdkinsAvenueFire no longer poses an immediate threat to homes and structures; however, residents should continue to monitor local media and fire conditions.

The mandatory evacuation order for the Bear Creek area is still in effect due to the #BerthaSwampRoadFire.

We appreciate the community’s patience as we continue efforts to contain the Bertha Swamp Road Fire. Structure protection units remain on the ground in the Bear Creek area. For those living near the area of the Bertha Swamp Road fire or Adkins Road fire, please stay informed by watching local news, and understand the circumstances affecting a fire can change rapidly.

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3:30 PM UPDATE:

Chipola Complex Fires

The Adkins Avenue Fire is currently 875 acres & 40% contained. The Star Avenue Fire is 250 acres and 45% contained. The Bertha Swamp Road Fire is 13,000 acres (across three counties) and 10% contained.

Bertha Swamp Road Fire Map
Adkins Avenue Fire & Star Avenue Fire Map

Sims Nursing Home Update

The evacuation at Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home has ended and the residents have returned, according to Bay County Emergency officials.

More here: https://www.facebook.com/BayCountyFLEmergencyServices/videos/691415695402628/


2:30 PM:

Bay District Schools

Waller Elementary School will be closed Tuesday. All other schools will reopen. The full news release from Bay District Schools is below:

WALLER CLOSED ONE MORE DAY – ALL OTHER SCHOOLS OPEN

We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through our current wildfire situation. We continue to work closely with emergency management officials and have made the difficult decision to keep Waller closed for one more day due to that school’s proximity to the smoke.

All other schools will be open on a usual schedule. We do understand that many of our families, and some of our employees, have had to evacuate because of the fires and we will continue to do all we can to connect them with the resources they need.

Our mental health teams at our schools are working hard to support our students and staff through this challenge. We know you join us in thanking all of the firefighters and first responders who are working around the clock to save our homes and our communities from these fires.

Those of us who lived through Hurricane Michael have known that this day would come but that doesn’t make it any less devastating or frightening.

Sims Nursing Home Update

Residents of the Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home are now able to return.


1:30 PM: Update from Bay County Emergency Management:

Firefighters and emergency personnel are working around the clock to help fire suppression efforts, including seven aircraft. Helicopters have dropped more than 105,000 gallons of water fighting the wildfires.

Additionally, a strike team of heavy bulldozers is focusing on building fire lines and defensible space around the communities near Bear Creek. The heavy bulldozers are better equipped to move large volumes of debris and to establish wider fire lines than typical initial attack tractor-plow units.

Wildfire Updates:

#AdkinsAvenueFire – 875 acres at 40% contained

#BerthaSwampRoadFire – 13,000 acres at 10% contained

#StarAvenueFire – 250 acres at 45% contained.

The mandatory evacuation areas remain the same until it is deemed safe for residents to return home. We understand your concern and frustrations. Updates regarding safe return home will be provided via AlertBay, local media, and social media.

News 13 Midday Updates:

Chipola Complex Wildfire Update

Adkins Avenue Fire

With some of the smoke cleared from the #AdkinsAvenueFire, firefighters were able to conducting better mapping. The Adkins Avenue Fire is still measured at 841 acres and is now 40% contained.

Star Avenue Fire

Star Avenue Fire Map

Callaway Heights Fire

Wildfire Victim Resources

Deer Point Lake Reservoir

Latest Weather Forecast


10 AM: The Florida Forest Service provided this update on the wildfires.

The Florida Forest Service’s Blue Incident Management team has assumed command of the Adkins Avenue Fire, Bertha Swamp Road Fire and a new fire, Star Ave Fire, that started on Sunday. Firefighting efforts for these wildfires are being coordinated under the name Chipola Complex. When two or more wildfires are burning close together in the same area, they are often called a “complex” and attacked by firefighters under a unified command.

Bertha Swamp Road Fire:

The Bertha Swamp Road Fire is now estimated at 12,000 acres and containment is at 10%. The fire has shown extreme activity for two days as steady winds pushed the fire through thick, dry, and dead trees and vegetation left behind from Hurricane Michael. Winds pushed the Bertha Swamp Road Fire from its origin in Gulf County on Friday, into Calhoun County and then Bay County on Saturday. Today will bring much of the same winds but an increase in humidity and cloud cover could help reduce intensity.

A strike team of heavy bulldozers is focusing on building firelines and defensible space around the communities near Bear Creek. The heavy bulldozers are better equipped to move large volumes of debris and to establish wider firelines than typical initial attack tractor-plow units. In addition to the strike team, there are 19 tractor-plows working to contain the fire.

Mandatory evacuations remain in place for residents in and around the Bear Creek area south and east of US 231. Motorists and residents are encouraged to remain clear of the area and to follow updates from the Bay County Emergency Services on Facebook. Residents can register for emergency notifications at AlertBay.org.

Adkins Avenue Fire:

The Adkins Avenue Fire is 841 acres and 40% contained. Early acreage estimates were hampered by smoky conditions and intense fire activity, but firefighters were able to conduct better mapping. Several spot fires occurred outside of the firelines on Sunday as high winds battered containment lines. Firefighters quickly attacked to suppress the small spot fires. There are 20 tractor-plow units assigned to the Adkins Avenue Fire.

All evacuation orders for the Adkins Avenue Fire remain in place. There is no timeline for when residents will be allowed to return home. Motorists and residents are encouraged to remain clear of the area and to follow updates from the Bay County Emergency Services on Facebook. Residents can register for emergency notifications at AlertBay.org.

Star Ave Fire:

The Star Ave Fire is estimated at 250 acres and 45% containment. This fire ignited Sunday near Tram Road and Star Avenue and forced the evacuation of the Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home. The Star Ave Fire grew rapidly in Hurricane Michael debris as it was pushed by steady winds. Nearby resources were able to respond quickly, and no homes or structures have been damaged or destroyed.

There are currently 171 wildfires burning more than 15,000 acres throughout Florida. Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters and resources from numerous fire and emergency service departments are working around the clock to help suppression efforts.

It is important for residents to use extreme caution and remain aware of current wildfire activity. To view active wildfires, visit FDACS.gov/ActiveWildfirePoints. To learn how to prevent and prepare for a wildfire, visit BeWildfireReadyFL.com.

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9:30 AM: Bay County Emergency Services has provided an update about the wildfires. Their full news release is below.

The #BerthaSwampRoadFire is approximately 12,000 acres and 20% contained.

The Florida Forest Service has heavy equipment on the ground, including 850L dozers (pictured below) that are focusing on establishing fire lines around the Bear Creek community.

Aerial water operations will continue today.

The #AdkinsRoadFire is approximately 841 acres and 40% contained. Bulldozers are also on the ground in this area working on containment lines.

The #StarAvenueFire is approximately 250 acres and 45% contained. The Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home was safely evacuated yesterday. The Florida Forest Service is working to widen fire containment lines around this fire.

Bay County officials say this heavy equipment will be used to create containment lines around the wildfires.

The Mandatory Evacuation areas remain the same and are defined as:- Area between Transmitter Rd. and Star Ave. and south of Hwy 231 to U.S. 98 (Tyndall Pkwy.)- Bear Creek, area south of Scotts Ferry Rd. and east of Hwy 231.

The Bay County Fairgrounds has been established as a shelter for evacuees and their pets.

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7 AM: This is the latest update from the Florida Forest Service as of Sunday night. We expect an update later this morning.

The Florida Forest Service’s Blue Incident Management team will assume command of the Adkins Avenue Fire and Bertha Swamp Road Fire on Monday under the name Chipola Complex. When two or more wildfires are burning close together in the same area, they are often called a “complex” and attacked by firefighters under a unified command.

Bertha Swamp Road Fire:
The Bertha Swamp Road Fire is now estimated at 9,000 acres and sits at 20 percent containment. This fire has shown significant activity throughout the day as winds pushed the fire through thick, dry, and dead trees and vegetation left behind from Hurricane Michael. Structure crews have been in place near the communities surrounding Bear Creek, south and east of US 231, as wildland firefighters worked to build containment lines to stem the fire’s forward progress.

Residents in the Bear Creek area were put under mandatory evacuation orders on Saturday as the fire pushed from its origin in Gulf County into Bay and Calhoun counties. There are 17 tractor-plow units working on the fire. Motorists and residents are encouraged to remain clear of the area and to follow updates from the Bay County Emergency Services on Facebook. Residents can register for emergency notifications at AlertBay.org.

Adkins Avenue Fire:
The Adkins Avenue Fire is now measured at 841 acres and is 40% contained. Early acreage estimates were hampered by smoky conditions and intense fire activity. As smoke conditions improved, firefighters were able to conduct better mapping. Gusty winds and erratic fire behavior tested containment lines all day, and several spot fires occurred outside of the lines. Firefighters quickly attacked to suppress the small spot fires. There are currently five tractor-plow units assigned to the Adkins Avenue Fire.

All evacuation orders for the Adkins Avenue Fire remain in place. There is no timeline for when residents will be allowed to return home. Motorists and residents are encouraged to remain clear of the area and to follow updates from the Bay County Emergency Services on Facebook. Residents can register for emergency notifications at AlertBay.org.

There are currently 168 wildfires burning 15,300 acres throughout Florida. Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters and resources from numerous fire and emergency service departments are working around the clock to help suppression efforts.

Star Avenue Fire:

The Star Avenue Fire is now measured at 250 acres and is 45% contained.

Four tractor-plow units and multiple helicopters that were assigned to the Adkins Avenue Fire responded as soon it was reported Sunday afternoon, but stiff winds upward of 20 mph fanned the flames and pushed the fire toward nearby communities.

An evacuation order was issued for Clifford Chester Sims Veterans Administration Nursing Home and residents were transported to either a temporary shelter or nearby hospital depending on needs. The Star Ave Fire is growing, and updates will be issued as the situation develops. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

With some of the smoke cleared from the #AdkinsAvenueFire, firefighters were able to conducting better mapping. The Adkins Avenue Fire is still measured at 841 acres and is now 40% contained.