1:00 PM UPDATE:
Updated Evacuation Zone Map: The yellow shaded areas represent the current mandatory evacuations. The areas are defined as:
The 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.
12:00 PM UPDATE:
11:00 AM UPDATE: The Deer Point Lake Reservoir is closed to boaters from the Deer Point Dam to High Point Park due to the Adkins Avenue Fire and the Bertha Swamp Road Fire, according to Bay County Emergency Officials.
Water drafting operations will be conducted from the reservoir by National Guard air units. Helicopters are using the reservoir to scoop water to combat the flames.
MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife officers are clearing boat traffic and have boats on-scene to enforce the closure.
Officials said the closure is from sunrise to sunset and will remain in place daily until further notice.
10:00 AM UPDATE: BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County Officials and firefighters are monitoring the two massive wildfires at the Panama City Mall Command Center.
“Really the big news for us this morning is that we have upped the containment of the Adkins Avenue Fire from 30 percent to 35 percent which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you look at the overall picture, any containment increase is good increases,” Florida Forest Service Mitigation Specialist Joe Zwierzchowski said.
Bay County Emergency Services Chief Brad Monroe said they are not out of the woods yet, but on Sunday they have more resources to help them fight the fires.
“The areas we have evacuated we are still holding on those we are in day three. We are not out of the woods yet. In fact, the weather is changing. We still have the basic weather forecast that we have had the last three days so the pop-up fires are still a possibility. The good news is, we have more assets. We have a lot more assets that came in from the state. And we also have the federal assets which are the large helicopters that will be helping us with water,” Bay County Emergency Services Chief Brad Monroe said.
The Bertha Swamp Road Fire is at 8,000 acres and 10 percent contained. The Adkins Avenue Fire remains at 1,400 and 35 percent contained.
“We will get people back to their homes as soon as possible, we are not trying to keep people away from their homes for any other reason than life or death circumstances. So as soon as we can get a definite, clear signal that there is no hazard for those areas we will let you back into your homes. Right now, we just cannot make that call,” Monroe said.
9:00 AM UPDATE: BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) —The Florida Forest Service continues to fight two large wildfires, the Adkins Avenue Fire and the Bertha Swamp Road fire.
Officials said they are deploying all available resources, including an additional four helicopters from the Florida National Guard, to contain both wildfires.
There are nearly 150 wildfires burning more than 12,100 acres throughout the state.
The Bertha Swamp Road Fire is currently 10 percent contained and has shown increased activity on Sunday morning.
Residents in the Bear Creek area were put under mandatory evacuation orders on Saturday as the fire pushed from Gulf County into Bay and Calhoun counties.
The Florida Forest Service has 17 tractor-plow units attacking the Bertha Swamp Road Fire.
Officials are encouraging drivers and residents 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.
The Adkins Avenue Fire is holding at 1,400 acres and is 35 percent contained, according to officials.
Florida Forest Service helicopters have dropped more than 103,000 gallons of water on the fire since Friday.
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.