Mulch fire causes heavy smoke presence in Lee, Collier counties

A heavy smoke presence could be seen Thursday morning due to a mulch fire burning since Sunday on Immokalee Road, the North Collier Fire and Rescue District said.

The mulch fire was found burning at the Environmental Turnkey Solution Inc. on Immokalee Road and Jones Mining Road, according to fire officials. Crews have been working to extinguish the flames of the fire that’s burned approximately six to eight acres in a wooded area on the northeastern edge of the property surrounded by farm fields.

The company was allowed to remove materials that were not burned, but they’re prohibited from bringing additional materials on scene, fire officials said.

The company did bring additional materials, according to reports obtained by fire officials. A stop work order will be issued by the Collier County Code Enforcement, which could come with penalties if the company does not comply.

The piles are expected to continue smoldering and cause smoke conditions in the area, fire officials said. Higher humidity throughout the overnight hours could lead to limited visibility on roads.

Smoke is a respiratory irritant that can cause a scratchy throat, coughing, headaches or irritated eyes and nose, according to the Florida Department of Health in Collier County. Smoke can worsen asthma, or other chronic lung or heart conditions.

Residents are advised to contact their doctor if they feel like they have difficulty breathing due to the smoke.

Due to dry conditions, Southwest Florida is experiencing very high to extreme fire danger on Wednesday.

The department of health offered the following tips to keep your family safe:

  • Pay attention to health warnings related to the wildfires and the associated smoke.
  • Avoid prolonged outdoor activities.
  • Pay attention to visibility and how you feel.
  • Stay indoors and run your air conditioner if you have one.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather.
  • When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and candles. Do not vacuum, which stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke.

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Anyone with questions can call the North Collier Fire and Rescue District office at 239-597-3222.

MORE: Crews battle mulch fire in Collier County

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
Janae Muchmore
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