• ‘Big Boy’ Bertha Swamp Fire spans 9,000 acres
  • A veterans’ nursing home was evacuated due to the wildfires’ threat
  • Three schools will be closed Monday in Bay County due to the fires

More than 1,000 homes were evacuated in Bay County, Florida, over the weekend as two fires raged in the area, including a 9,000-acre wildfire that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dubbed as “a big boy.” Veteran residents of a nursing home were among those forced to evacuate.

In Bay County, at least 1,100 residences had to be evacuated due to the threat of the Adkins Avenue Fire, which has engulfed 841 acres of land. The Bertha Swamp Road Fire, which spans 9,000 acres, is “moving very quickly,” DeSantis was cited as saying by Associated Press.

By Sunday, a third fire, the 163-acre Star Avenue Fire, developed and forced the evacuation of state-operated Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans’ Nursing Home. The 120-bed facility is also near Bay County Jail, which houses 1,300 inmates.

The Florida Forest Service (FFS) said the Adkins Avenue Fire has only been 35% contained so far, while the Bertha Swamp Fire has only been 10% contained and “remains active,” as per the Sunday morning alert by the FFS. The agency said it has deployed “17 dozers” to help contain the massive fire.

During a media briefing Sunday, DeSantis said Florida is “not going to get any relief in terms of the weather,” The New York Times reported. The FFS also said that there was “critically low humidity” in the area, triggering fire danger levels to be elevated across the state.

While the Adkins Avenue Fire was reportedly caused by burning debris in a backyard, the FFS said windy conditions fueled the Bertha Swamp Fire and the Star Avenue Fire.

As part of the efforts to ensure the safety of residents, the Bay County Fairgrounds at 15th Street was designated as a shelter for evacuees, WJHG-TV reported. According to Bay District Schools, three schools - Waller Elementary School, Tommy Smith Elementary, and Merritt Brown Middle School - will be closed Monday due to the threat of the fires. The Air Force Aid Society announced that it will provide $600 in grants to affected families who qualify for financial assistance.

DeSantis has expanded a state of emergency in Bay County, Calhoun County, and Gulf County due to the wildfires, CNN reported. National Guard air assets have also been deployed for containment efforts.