Wildfires in Northwest Florida’s Gulf, Calhoun and Bay counties have expanded to more than 34,000 acres as crews continue trying to control the blazes, according to information released Wednesday morning by the Florida Forest Service.
The forest service said Tuesday night that the wildfires covered 29,200 acres. The largest fire is what is dubbed the Bertha Swamp Road Fire, which started in Gulf County and spread to Calhoun and Bay counties. “
The Bertha Swamp Road Fire continues to grow, now estimated at 33,047 acres, and containment remains at 10%,” the forest service said in a news release.
“Suppression efforts remain challenging as the fire pushes through thick, dry and dead trees and vegetation left behind from Hurricane Michael.”
Officials have said the wildfires are being fueled by trees that were damaged or knocked down by the devastating 2018 hurricane. Far smaller blazes are known as the Adkins Avenue Fire and the Star Avenue Fire, which were 80 percent contained Wednesday morning.
The forest service pointed to rain Wednesday as potentially helping efforts to control the fires. “Light, steady rain is expected today, which will reduce the heat and intensity of the Bertha Swamp Road Fire,” the news release said.
“This will provide improved access for wildland firefighters, allowing them to establish and improve containment lines around the fast-moving wildfire.”