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State of Florida Issues Updates on Chipola Complex State Response, State Emergency Operations Center Activated to Level 2

3/8/2022

State of Florida Issues Updates on Chipola Complex State Response, State Emergency Operations Center Activated to Level 2

Today, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) activated the State Emergency Operations Center to a Level 2 in response to the Chipola Complex. The Chipola Complex includes the Bertha Swamp Road Fire and the Adkins Avenue Fire in Bay County. 

In response to the Chipola Complex, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 22-55, which amended Executive Order 22-54, to expand the State of Emergency to include Calhoun and Gulf counties.

FDEM requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the Chipola Complex. FEMA approved FMAG for the Chipola Complex in Bay County. FDEM is submitting an amended FMAG request to include Calhoun and Gulf counties.

The Adkins Road Fire was reported to the State Watch Office Friday afternoon. Following the notification, FDEM response personnel deployed to Bay County to provide support to local responding agencies and coordinate available state resources. FDEM personnel continue to be on-scene to support ongoing response efforts.

At this time, the Chipola Complex is burning across approximately 15,000 acres in Bay, Calhoun and Gulf counties. There are currently no reported injuries or fatalities.

State response efforts include:

  • FDEM deployed the State Mental Health Coordinator to support First Responder Mental Wellness teams and coordinate mental health resources for impacted residents.
  • FDEM coordinated the deployment of four firefighting engine strike teams. Firefighting engine strike teams focus on the protection of infrastructure during a fire response.
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) activated the State’s Private Sector Hotline for business inquiries, preparedness information and recovery resources in regards to the wildfires in Northwest Florida. Businesses can reach the Private Sector Hotline at (850) 815-4925 or visit FloridaDisaster.Biz to register to receive updates on recovery resources.
  • The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) issued Emergency Order 030522, which waives replacement fees for driver license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.
  • Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) continues to coordinate with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and local authorities for evacuations and supplementing local law enforcement agency efforts with increased patrol in Bay County.
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has teams on-site, including Hope Florida Care Navigators and economic self-sufficiency staff, at the Bay County Fairgrounds shelter to assist families with mental health and recovery needs.
  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has assembled and staged Message Boards and Smoke Ahead signs in Bay and Calhoun counties if further deployments are needed. Boards and signs are deployed on various roadways in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf and Washington counties in conjunction with FHP requests.
  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) mobilized and deployed five Wildlands Type 6 engines and one Wildlands Type 7 truck managed by 10 fire professionals from DEP’s Division of Recreation and Parks.
  • DEP’s Hazardous Assessment Response Team is on standby to respond as needed to any impacts from the Northwest Florida fires.

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) is working with the local Area Agency on Aging to identify impacted seniors in the affected area and assist in the coordination of evacuations. Calls have identified 103 individuals that are in the affected area, with fewer than 10 individuals that need to be evacuated at this time.

Updated: Tuesday, March 8, 2022
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