Gulf Correctional evacuated out of abundance of caution

UPDATE: On March 9, the Department of Corrections said in a press release that 1,700 inmates were successfully relocated to Franklin Correctional Institution in Carrabelle.

All inmates and staff are accounted for. Inmate location statuses will be updated within 24 hours.

The Bertha Swamp Road fire had spread to 33,047 acres as of Wednesday morning.


The Florida Department of Corrections ordered the evacuation of the Gulf Correctional Institution Tuesday evening out of an abundance of caution as the Chipola Complex fires burn  over 29,000 acres.

According to Gulf County Emergency Management, there are 14 transport busses en route at this time to move inmates.

The fire is not spreading in the direction of the prison at this time.

Matt Herring, the director of Gulf County Emergency Management, said that the DOC has had a contingency plan in place since the Bertha Swamp Road fire broke out in northwest Gulf County on friday.

“The storm that’s coming tomorrow going to bring some heavy winds,” said Herring. “They’re just worried that if the winds change and push (the fire) in that direction, then they could be in a mess.”

This report will be updated as more information becomes available.

An early version of this report contained an error in the size of the Bertha Swamp Road fire.  It has since been updated to reflect the most recent totals.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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