US 41 reopens following ‘burnout’ in Collier County

Fire crews are still working to contain the Greenway fire in Collier County on Thursday.

In a week, the fire burned more than 25 square miles – about half the size of the City of Fort Myers.

Collier County 

‘Greenway’ fire

The Greenway fire in the Picayune Strand State Forest has burned 16,876 acres and is 70 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Planned burnout along U.S. 41

Portions of U.S. 41 reopened around 5:43 p.m. following a seven-mile planned burnout, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. A burnout was planned and intended to burn out the remainder of fuels for a fire to prevent future flaring up. The closure prompted Collier County Public Schools to announce some early dismissals to allow for parents and kids to get through the area before road closures.

Children were encouraged to be picked up by 12:30 p.m. from the following schools:

  • Everglades City School
  • Lely Elementary School
  • Lely High School
  • Manatee Elementary School
  • Manatee Middle School
  • Marco Island Academy
  • New Beginnings Naples
  • Phoenix Naples

Classes will continue for children who remain at the schools, according to a spokesperson for Collier schools. No buses going to and from the impacted areas will be available Thursday.

The following portions of U.S. 41 will close at 1 p.m. as forestry crews conduct a seven-mile burn, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

U.S. 41 is closed from Six L’s Farm Road to State Road 29, according to the FHP.

  • San Marco Road at U.S. 41 — drivers will not be able to make left or right turns
  • Traffic from Port of the Islands can travel eastbound by making a right turn at U.S. 41

The roads will be closed for approximately four hours, according to the FHP. Motorists are advised to seek an alternate route of travel during this closure period and to travel with patience.

Crews will be working with multiple agencies as smoke may decrease visibility near U.S. 41.

“Winds will be out of the Southeast, this afternoon, which will push the fire to the Northwest and back into a previously burned area,” said Mike Weston, Center Manager for Caloosahatchee Forestry Center. “We are coordinating with Florida Highway Patrol, Collier Seminole State Park, and Seminole Tribe Fire, for the parts of the fire near US-41.”

Southwest Florida Fire Danger Indices 

Fire danger risk is still “high” in Collier County on Thursday. The fire danger risk in Lee County was “very high.”

Hendry County

‘West Boundary’ fire

This fire has charred 2,642 acres and is 90 percent contained as of Thursday evening, according to the Caloosahatchee Forestry Center.

Stay prepared SWFL

The Florida Forest Service has not issued any mandatory evacuations, but officials stress being prepared in the event they need to leave their homes.

WINK News anchor Lois Thome goes over the 5 P’s of an evacuation: