Collier brush fire 90 percent contained

GOLDEN GATE ESTATES, Fla. The fire that burned approximately 7,230 acres in the Picayune Strand State Forest and destroyed four homes is 90 percent contained, the Florida Forest Service said.

Firefighters will work to advance the containment rate and remove any dead trees that could serve as kindling for future hotspots, according to a state forest service official.

At least 50 agencies from throughout the state worked together to contain the flames.

Mike Weston, Center Manager for Caloosahatchee Forestry Center, expressed his appreciation to the agencies working to extinguish the flames that have been burning since March 5.

“I just want to thank the Red Team for all they have done for the Naples area,” Weston said. “Our local responders were able to focus on local incidents such as the wildfires that sparked in Golden Gate Estates yesterday afternoon.”

However, there is a price to be paid.

The massive fire cost the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District over $50,000 and the Florida Fire Service more than half a million dollars, according to Greater Naples Fire Chief Kingman Shuldt.

“I don’t cry wolf, but what you have to understand this fire was one of the largest in the past 10 years in the state of Florida,” he said. “The threat is real and it’s the beginning of the [brush fire] season.”

Shuldt also warns homeowners that it’s imperative they have at least 30 feet of open space around their homes, as well as clean roofs and gutters.

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