Rainfall helps with containment, but wildfire threat remains

The Bertha Swamp Road fire remains at a little over 33,000 acres after Wednesday’s heavy rainfall  helped firefighters establish containment lines not previously possible due to the fire’s extreme behavior.

The fire is now at about 20 percent containment, up about 10 percentage points from yesterday morning.

But the Florida Forest Service warns that with dry, windy weather returning this weekend, the wildfire threat remains.

“While the rain being seen now is good, increased winds and low humidity are expected this weekend, which means the wildfire threat remains and residents should be cautious,” the FFS wrote in a Facebook update Wednesday night.

According to Gulf County Emergency management, there has been more than 3.4 inches of rainfall over the fire since a storm system blew into the area early Wednesday morning.

But the Florida Forest Service reported Thursday morning that there had been no substantial changes to the Bertha Swamp Road fire or other are wildfires overnight, attributing the large amount of Hurricane Michael debris.

“There has been no substantial activity on the (Chipola Complex fires),” they wrote in their morning update. “While the significant rainfall has improved current conditions, the exponential volume of dead trees and vegetation left behind from Hurricane Michael will remain a wildfire threat in the Panhandle.”

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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