Collier fires scorch over 1,600 acres, destroy home

GOLDEN GATE ESTATES, Fla. Two fires burning a total of 1,650 acres are threatening dozens of homes north of Alligator Alley near the Picayune Strand State Forest.

The first blaze is burning an estimated 1,300 acres close to Everglades Boulevard South and is 10 percent contained, according to Caloosahatchee Forestry Center. That road is closed in both directions south of 30th Avenue Southeast, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said.

The fire has already destroyed one home, fire officials said.

Mandatory evacuations were lifted just before 11 p.m. after many residents were forced to leave their homes for several hours, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said.

The fire affected Collier County school bus routes, as some schools tweeted:

Smoke can be seen from Alligator Alley, as Florida Department of Transportation cameras show:

A second fire also ignited near Frangipani Avenue. The blaze is burning an estimated 350 acres and is 10 percent contained, the Caloosahatchee Forestry Center said.

The Max Hasse Jr. Community Center, which was open throughout the day as a reception center for evacuees, will close at 11:15 p.m.

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