The multiple brush fires broke out in four counties of Southwest Florida last Wednesday, causing road closures, damaged structures, and advice of mandatory evacuation. The winds and dry conditions are not much of help.
As of 7 p.m., eastbound lanes of State Road 82 are now open. The westbound lanes remain closed, however, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Earlier, both the westbound and eastbound lanes of State Road 82 between Griffin Drive and Gateway Boulevard east of Fort Myers were closed due to the brush fire.
The multiple brush fires in expanded to 5,000 acres as of Wednesday night, with least 30 homes are threatened by the brushfire in Golden Gate Estates. The fires began in Golden Gate Estates at around 2 p.m. on Wednesday and have then broken down into six different brush fires due to the spread of embers and flames, according to Kingman Schuldt, the chief of Greater Naples Fire Rescue District. Schuldt reported that there is no containment yet. Alligator Alley from State Road 29 to Collier Boulevard has been closed due to brush fire.
A fire at 36th Avenue SE is now at 2,500 hectares, with zero containment. Another fire at 22nd Ave SE has burned 1,500 acres, and with no containment. Fires are still burning at Golden Gate Estates.
A large brush fire is burning near U/S. 17 and Foxtail Lane in Punta Gorda. Fire and heavy smoke can be seen from Interstate 75. Despite the heavy smoke, the highway visibility is not affected, as reported by the Florida Highway Patrol.
State Road 29 from Sears Road to County Road 832 was closed due to a brushfire. The section of the road closed is near the Spirit-of-the-Wild Wildlife Management Area. The authorities will closely monitor the visibility of the area.
Since Tuesday, the Forestry Service fire danger index report has been in the extreme to high range. On Wednesday, Lee County was classified as the very high range, Collier County was in a high range, while Hendry County was in the moderate range. High humidity and drought conditions have caused these levels of danger index.
A mandatory evacuation order is in place for the following areas:
Homes along three residential streets in Golden Gate Estates have been evacuated as fire crew is fighting off the brush fire.
Forest Glen and all side streets south of Beck Boulevard, including the area west of Garland, south of Keane Avenue, west of Kam Luck drive, South of Beck Boulevard, and north of Interstate-75 are to be evacuated.
A voluntary evacuation order is called for the following areas:
The area east of Collier Boulevard, West of Garland, South of Brantley Boulevard, and North of Beck Boulevard.
The Golden Gate Community Center is open as a shelter. The center is located at 4701 Golden Gate Parkway.
Citizen Contact Center
A citizen contact center has been set-up for affected residents at 40th Avenue Southeast and Everglades Boulevard. For residents on any of the affected streets, proof of residence is required to let them through to tend to pets, livestock, and other family members who might be in the area. Deputies may be contacted at Everglades Boulevard South and Golden Gate Boulevard East.
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