PANAMA CITY, FL – Firefighters and emergency services battled two massive wildfires Sunday in the Florida area of ​​Panhandle, which was still recovering from the devastation caused by Category 5 hurricane Michael more than three years ago.

The 8,000-acre (about 3,237-acre) fire on Bertha Swamp Road and 1,400 acres (567 hectares) on Edkins Avenue threatened homes and forced residents to evacuate at least 750 homes in Bay County, Florida, over the weekend. . A fire on Edkins Avenue on Friday night destroyed two structures and damaged 12 more homes. A local emergency official said that on Saturday, the second day of firefighting on Edkins Avenue, no homes were destroyed and no one was injured.

“No houses damaged. No residents or responders. A big win for Bay County!” Bay County emergency officials wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Local authorities said they did not know when residents would be able to return to their homes.

“It is NOT safe to return home at this time. Please be patient while the emergency services are fighting these dangerous fires,” Bay County officials said on the Internet.

The county has opened a shelter in Bay County Fairgrounds for displaced residents.

“We understand and recognize that everyone wants to go home, and that it was a huge inconvenience,” said Valerie Sale, a spokeswoman for Bay County.

A fire on Edkins Avenue has been burning in Bay County since Friday, forcing the evacuation of at least 600 homes, and on Sunday morning it was put out by 35%. A much larger fire in Bertha Wetlands began in nearby Gulf County on Friday, but spread to Bay and Calhoun counties on Saturday, forcing the evacuation of another 150 homes. It was 10% on Sunday morning.

Fire officials said Florida Forest Service helicopters had dropped more than 103,000 gallons (about 468,000 gallons) of water on fire on Edkins Avenue since Friday, and 25 bulldozers were deployed to plow fire lines.

“Unfortunately, what we have today is almost a copy of yesterday’s weather,” said Joe Zverzhovsky, a spokesman for the Florida Forest Service, Sunday morning. “We are seeing strong steady winds of 10 to 15 (16-24 kilometers) miles per hour with gusts of up to 20-25 miles (32-40 kilometers) per hour. So that will make the situation very dynamic.”

Currently, 148 forest fires are burning in Florida, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Hurricane Michael in 2018 was directly responsible for 16 deaths and about $ 25 billion in damage in the U.S., and it left behind 72 million tons of destroyed trees that provided fuel for Bay County Forest Fires, according to the Florida Forest Service.

PHOTO: Hurricane Michael leaves behind destruction

There are now nearly 150 wildfires across Florida, burning more than 12,100 acres (about 4,900 hectares).

ABC7 Chicago contributed to this publication.

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