GULF SHORES, Ala. -- Baldwin County's first landing of oil has been confirmed in Gulf Shores. Globs of oil were coming ashore today on the west side of Gulf State Park near Gulf-front condos and in some other areas.
A park official said that oil has come ashore throughout the state park, though the highest concentrations are at the west end. When the oil came ashore around noon, the beach was crowded and people were swimming in the Gulf. When the oil washed onto the beach, tourists began collecting it in water bottles, poking at it with sticks and even touching it, the official said.
The reddish globs have the consistency of honey and don't wash off easily.
Cleanup crews had yet to arrive an hour and a half after the oily material washed ashore. Two boats tried to corral the oil with boom but appeared unsuccessful. A cleanup crew chief who arrived at the scene said the water was too rough to corral the oil, and that he was waiting for about 100 laborers to arrive to clean up the mess with shovels.
In Orange Beach, Coastal Resources Manager Phillip West said that he had responded to reports of tarballs and oil-covered debris, like beer bottles and bits of Styrofoam but he said no oil had yet made landfall east of the state park.
Isolated small patches of oil have washed ashore at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Rufuge, Jereme Phillips, refuge manager said.
The small patches were discovered between Mobile Street and Laguna Key subdivision, Phillips said. The oily material came ashore around 3 p.m., he said.
(This story was updated at 3:50 p.m.)
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