Saturday, May 9 - After a five-day, multi-agency response to the Five Mile Swamp Fire, Santa Rosa County Emergency Management is pulling back structure fire equipment and personnel. The Florida Forest Service will retain command of the fire. The Florida Forest Service Blue Incident Management Team, which took command at noon on Thursday, is based out of the Santa Rosa County Emergency Operations Center.The county will lift the law enforcement check points on Garcon Point Road at 7 p.m. and normal traffic will be permitted. The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office will maintain a presence in the area. Anyone who is not a resident is asked to avoid the area while families return to their homes.Santa Rosa County’s damage assessment team has determined 14 residential structures were destroyed (seven damaged) with a total of 27 buildings destroyed. The estimated value for residential structure losses is $1,902,887. No responders or residents were injured. Monetary donations for long-term recovery efforts for residents who have lost their homes can be made to Safer Santa Rosa.The county’s citizens’ information line will close at 7 p.m. Register for the county’s emergency notifications at www.alertsantarosa.com. For future updates on the Five Mile Swamp Fire, visit the Florida Forest Service Wildfire Dashboard, follow them on Facebook or find them on Twitter."Santa Rosa County has always had a strong working relationship with our state and regional partners," said Public Safety Director Brad Baker. "We appreciate their timely and tireless support and we would like to thank everyone who pitched in to help - from firefighters on the ground and in the air, to the staff manning the citizens’ information line, to the restaurants providing meals for our evacuees."Agencies who have responded to Five Mile Swamp Fire include Allentown, Avalon, Bagdad, East Milton, Harold, Munson, Pace, Skyline, Whiting Field, Gulf Breeze, Midway, Holley-Navarre and Navarre Beach fire departments in Santa Rosa County along with Okaloosa Wildland Task Force, Jacksonville Fire Rescue Wildland Task Force, HZ-57 1302 Wildland Task Force, Escambia County (Florida) Fire, Escambia County (Alabama) Fire, Baldwin County Fire, Florida Forest Service, Lifeguard Ambulance, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office and Santa Rosa County Emergency Management.We are at the peak of Florida’s wildfire season and with high winds and low humidity, residents are strongly discouraged from burning leaves, debris or trash and reminded not to toss cigarette butts out of car windows. Officials with the Blackwater Forestry Center are continuing to withhold burn authorizations. For information on how to protect your home from fire, see the Forestry’s Firewise USA page.
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This will be the county’s final update on the Five Mile Swamp Fire.