State Watch

Thousands evacuated in Florida amid massive wildfires

Wildfires in Florida forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes on Sunday, including veterans in a nursing home.

The Bertha Swamp Road fire engulfed 9,000 acres, while the Adkins Avenue fire covered just over 840 acres. Combined, the blazes have forced the evacuations of at least 1,100 homes in Florida’s Bay County, according to The Associated Press.

As of Sunday, the Bertha Swamp Road fire was 10 percent contained and the Adkins Avenue fire was 35 percent contained, according to the Florida Forest Service.

A third fire started on Sunday, prompting a 120-bed, state-operated nursing home to be evacuated in Panama City. Residents from that home were moved to the Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home, the AP reported. 

“I know there has been frustration with people not being able to get back into their homes,” said Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford, per the wire service. “But we have had things that have popped up on a minute’s notice and really caused problems. As soon as we can, we will let people go back.”

Buses were also ready in the event of a need to evacuate Bay County Jail’s 1,300 inmates, the AP added.

As the county faces the large fires, it is still recovering from Hurricane Michael, a devastating Category 5 storm that struck in 2018, killing 16 people and causing roughly $25 billion in damage.

Tags emergency evacuation Florida wildfires
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