Bertha Swamp Road Fire at 33,000 acres as storms move in

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.:

FEMA has authorized federal funds to reimburse costs to Florida to fight the Bertha Swamp Road Wildfire burning in Calhoun County.

Earlier in the week, FEMA agreed to reimburse Bay County for the costs they incurred fighting the fire.

The regional administrator determined March 8 that the threat to Gulf County would not constitute a major disaster eligible for funding.

Gulf County Emergency Management director Matt Herring said Wednesday afternoon that the storm system that moved in earlier that day had dropped 2.6 inches of rain on the Gulf County side of the fire.

He said that the fire was not yet extinguished.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.:

The Florida Department of Corrections announced that 1,700 inmates from Gulf Correctional Institution were successfully relocated to Franklin Correctional INstitution on Tuesday night due to the prison’s proximity to the Bertha Swamp Road fire.

Officials worry that shifting wind patterns due to severe thunderstorms could push the fire further into Gulf County, though this has not been confirmed to be the case at this point in time.

No other evacuation orders have been made in Gulf County.

All inmates and staff are accounted for.


On Wednesday morning, as severe thunderstorms moved into the area, Gulf County Emergency Management reported that the Bertha Swamp Road fire had reached 33,047 acres.

The Storm is still at 10 percent containment.

Bay County Emergency Services has released an update map of the fire’s location as of Wednesday morning.

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This report will be updated as more information becomes available.

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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