More than 1,400 acres on fire, state of emergency, evacuations issued

Emergency officials are evacuating about 250 homes near Springfield as a fast-moving wildfire...
Emergency officials are evacuating about 250 homes near Springfield as a fast-moving wildfire comes closer.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 1:44 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - UPDATE: 8:30 a.m. 3/5/22

According to Bay County Emergency Services, the Adkins Avenue Fire is currently 1,400 acres and growing. The Florida Forest Service (FFS) reports 30% containment.

The Florida Department of Emergency Management reports 8 homes have been engulfed in flames, causing over 1,000 homes to be evacuated.

More than 200 firefighters from various areas of the Panhandle are working this fire, including 70 firefighters operating dozers, tractors, engines, and other equipment from the FFS.

The evacuation order has not been lifted, and residents are not allowed to go back to their homes. There is currently no timeline of when residents will be able to return home, according to FFS.

FFS will have planes and helicopters in the air today, and ask that residents do not fly drones.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. A county-wide burn ban is in effect until further notice.

We will continue to update as more information becomes available.

UPDATE:

Bay County officials say the Adkins Avenue fire is more than 800 acres and 3/4 of a mile wide between Tyndall Parkway and Highway 231 along Transmitter Road.

High winds and low humidity are contributing to the spread of the fire. Bay County officials say everyone south of Highway 231 on the east side of Transmitter Road needs to evacuate as the fast-moving wildfire moves north/northeast.

Governor Ron DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for Bay County, and a local state of emergency has been declared. A burn ban is also in effect for Bay County.

Highland Park Baptist Church is being used as an emergency shelter. Evacuees may bring pets. The Florida Forest Service says 600 homes have been evacuated.

No reports of injuries or fatalities at this time. Bay County officials tell us two homes have been destroyed and eight have damage.

An estimated 200 responders are on the ground fighting the fire at this time.

We’re also told the stand-alone emergency room on Highway 231 is being shut down and patients are being evacuated.

“Due to the fire near Transmitter Road and Alva Thomas Road, colleagues and patients at the freestanding emergency department, Panama City Emergency have been safely evacuated out of an abundance of caution,” Gulf Coast Regional’s Mike Sparks told us in a statement. “The safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and patients is paramount and the evacuation was conducted according to emergency protocols. Panama City Emergency will be closed until authorities deem the area safe to return. If you have an emergency and are located in this area, please go to your nearest emergency room.”

If you have to evacuate, there is a place you can go to. A site is opening at Hiland Park Baptist Church for evacuees. The Red Cross and Rebuild Bay County will be at the evacuation site.

More than 250 homes are being evacuated as a wildfire moves in the area of Springfield.

Bay County officials are urging people in the Brentwood and Avondale Estates neighborhoods to evacuate immediately, as well as the area of Alva Thomas Road.

This evacuation comes after a wildfire in the area started to spread.

Around 11:30 Friday morning, firefighters responded to a fire they believe started after someone was burning outdoor trash in the area. Initial reports said the fire was between 30 and 40 acres near Adkins Avenue and Tyndall Parkway.

Wildfires can move fast, especially with dry conditions as we have seen this past week. Also, this area still has Hurricane Michael debris, causing additional issues.

Bay County officials are sending out notifications to residents in the area through Alert Bay.

This is an ongoing situation that can change fast. We will keep you updated as we get more information.

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