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All evacuations lifted: 8,663 acre fire continues to burn in Collier County; now 40% contained

All mandatory evacuations have been canceled, per Collier County Sheriff’s Office. These were originally in place on both sides of Alligator Alley due to the 36th Ave SE Fire that has grown to 8,663 acres and continues to spread through Collier County. As of Friday evening, the fire is now at 40% containment.

Investigators are still working to determine if arson was the cause of the fire.

The Florida Forest Service Green Incident Management Team and Greater Naples Fire Rescue hosted a joint press conference with an update at 5 p.m. Friday.

Forestry said the rain was a great help to dousing the flames, but they’re not out of the woods yet.

“We have been able to make good use of the rain over the night and into this morning, letting our firefighters get closer to the line of the fire, keeping it contained and doing a good job for us,” said John Kern, the incident commander for the Green IMT.

So far about half of the damage has been assessed with seven homes and 23 other structures destroyed.

FFS has seven strike teams from outside the county stretching from Miami, Orlando and Tampa.

If you live in the zones you need to be standing by to evacuate if firefighters give the order.

That could change very rapidly as we saw on Thursday with the wind as fires tore apart homes leaving them almost unrecognizable.

Friday morning, Collier County Sheriff’s Office gave an update on the situation, saying
there are no additional evacuations expected today but the existing ones will remain in effect throughout the day.

Please be advised there is a high fire danger alert in the following areas that has the potential to escalate to an…

Posted by Greater Naples Fire Rescue District on Thursday, May 14, 2020

 

One woman who rushed to help her dad after his home burned down told WINK News she is just grateful everybody is okay.

“Devastation… it’s very hard to see this place— as many fires that have come through its never been the house its always been the shop. My father is priceless…I’m so glad he’s alive,” said Golden Gate Estates resident, Jenifer Christensen.

At this point, fire crews say the brush fire is 10 percent contained and is affecting over 8,500 acres.

Homeland Security approved FEMA funding to help fight the spreading fires. All those crews and equipment being used, like helicopter airdrops, quickly rack up a big bill.

On Thursday, two of the larger fires merged into one 8,663-acre blaze.

UPDATE: According to CCSO, all evacuations are now canceled 

There is a reunification center and shelter open at Golden Gate Community Center, 4701 Golden Gate Pkwy.

A primary citizen contact and reunification center has been established at Max Hasse Park, 3390 Golden Gate Blvd. W. Meals and water are available at that location.

A citizen contact center has also been set up for affected residents at 40th Avenue SE and Everglades Blvd. Residents can access this area from I-75 at the Everglades Blvd. overpass.

The Collier County Fairgrounds said it is opening up its parking lots for people who need a place for trailers and other vehicles.

Anyone wishing to donate food and drinks for firefighters may drop items off at Max Hasse Park, 3390 Golden Gate Blvd. W. Items that would be helpful include bottled water, Gatorade or other drinks containing electrolytes; easy-to-eat fruit such as apples, bananas and oranges; and individual serving packets of items including nuts, protein bars and granola.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Lincoln Saunders
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