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Taking care of first responders battling the Bay County fires

Organizations feeding firefighters and community
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Posted at 11:46 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 23:46:52-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Local organizations are teaming up to take care of first responders battling the Florida Panhandle fires by dishing out 500 meals, 3 times a day.

"They go out and do the job of saving Northwest Florida from this incredible tragedy."

Over 15,000-acres of Bay County have burned in what's being called the Chipola Complex Fire.

State Fire Marshal, Jimmy Patronis, says fighting it is a joint effort. Right now: federal, state, and local leaders are working with non-profits like the Salvation Army to feed those first responders still battling the flames.

Commanding Officer, Major Ed Binnix, says it's crucial to keep that effort going.

"Fighting fires for hours and hours on end is just exhausting work. They get dehydrated quickly; this fire is just relentless."

They've deployed their Tallahassee Mobile Feeding Unit and even local restaurants are stepping up to provide meals.

The Red Cross has an evacuation shelter to house and feed the community forced to leave their homes because of the massive fire. Executive Director, Sharon Council-Carraway, says their volunteers have come from across the Big Bend.

"In the event people are allowed to go back into their homes, depending on the situation, they'll be there to help with food distribution as well as material distribution, clean up kits, and comfort kits."

All to make sure their basic needs are covered.

"We bring help and hope and that's what people need when they're experiencing one of the darkest moments of their lives."

In nearby Jackson County, a burn ban is still in effect and residents are urged to call 911 if they see any fires.

Franklin County also put a burn ban in effect over the weekend until conditions improve.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army will stay in Bay County as long as they're needed.

Both organizations are always looking for more volunteers and donations to help in disasters like this.