A map showing the location of the fire [ FFS ]
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Florida Forest Service responding to fire north of Highland View

UPDATE JULY 6 — The fire is now 75 percent contained. Updates will be provided here.

UPDATE 9 P.M. — The fire is now reported to be 50 percent contained.


The Florida Forest Service reported that they were responding to an active wildfire in swampland about two miles north of Highland View.

The exact acreage of the fire is unknown. At this time, no structures are threatened and the forest service has not requested additional support from local fire departments.

It has been named the Chicken House Branch Fire.

The forest service is reporting that the fire is 10 percent contained at this time, though Gulf County Emergency Management Director Matt Herring said that due to the swampy nature of its location, crews were having difficulty accessing the fire.

“It’s in the swamp, and they can’t event get to it with their tractors. They’re cutting lines around it, but they can’t even get to it, so it’s going to have to burn to them. It’s too dangerous for them to take a tractor into the swamp,” he said.

Herring said these local departments would remain on standby in case a change in the wind pushes the fire towards Highland View.

This report will be updated as 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 NonDoc.com 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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