UPDATE: Swamp fire still burning across Garcon Point peninsula

Many residents have been able to return to their homes, but the Five Mile Swamp Fire is still burning, closing the area east of Garcon Point Road according to county Emergency Management. 

Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters worked through the night to monitor, improve, and widen containment lines around the perimeter of the Five Mile Swamp Fire which is still roughly 2,180 acres and 35% contained.

“Fire personnel are providing ‘mop up’ tactics today, doing all we can to ensure the area is as safe as possible before we allow residents back into areas that had previously been evacuated,” Public Safety Director Brad Baker said in a press release. “In addition, extra structural protection resources have been brought in to assist with the firefighting efforts and citizens may see them staged in areas as a precaution, should a hot spot flare up outside the perimeter.”

According to the most recent report, the number of homes destroyed by the fire is now listed at 14, down from 18 during earlier assessments. Another residence has sustained minor damage. 

No injury to responders or residents have been reported. 

Monetary donations for long-term recovery efforts for residents who have lost their homes can be made to Safer Santa Rosa, according to the press release.

Crews observed minimal fire activity throughout the night due to a decrease in wind speed and an increase in relative humidity. 

Officials reported weather predictions May 8 are for a switch in wind direction and a drastic increase in wind speeds. Winds will now prevail from the south/southwest at 13-18 mph gusting up to 25 mph which will increase fire activity on the north/northeast perimeter of fires.

Residents north of the area effected by the fire are advised smoke will now impact those communities.

Florida Forest Service helicopters will continue concentrated water bucket drops on both fires as wildfire activity increases during the day, and additional resources are coming to the area. 

As firefighters continue to work to contain the blaze, residents are reminded not to fly drones at this time. Drones interfere with air support, forcing helicopter operations to stay grounded and impeding firefighting efforts.

Residents are also strongly discouraged from burning leaves, debris or trash.

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