One week in, Bertha Swamp Road fire at 40 percent containment

The Bertha Swamp Road fire, which began in northwest Gulf County one week ago,  remains at a little over 33,000 acres.

Increased rainfall over the past several days has helped firefighters make significant improvements to the fire’s containment.

The Florida Forest Service  reported that the fire was 40 percent contained Friday morning, twenty percentage points higher than it was at the last update Thursday morning.

Management of the fire will slowly be transitioned back to the FFS Chipola Forestry Center.

The Forest Service said in a release that residents should continue to exercise caution with dry, windy weather returning in the coming days.

“Residents are encouraged to continue to use extreme caution,” they wrote. “Hurricane Michael destroyed 2.8 million acres of trees in the Panhandle. Much of the debris remains on the ground, ready to burn.”

“It’s not about if a wildfire will ignite, but when.”

This report will be updated as more information becomes available.


Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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