Residents of Collier County are on high alert as massive brush fires burn through South Florida. The Florida Forest Service is on the frontlines battling the wildfires in Naples, which broke out on Wednesday, May 13, and continues to grow in size. This area of South Florida has long been prone to brush fires.
"These are extremely dangerous and fast-moving wildfires that can change rapidly," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a press release, adding that all residents in the affected area should heed evacuation orders from local officials.
The area was hit with the two blazes through the central portion of Colier County, within the Golden Gate area. One is at 2,500 acres, named the 36th Avenue Fire, and the other at 1,500 acres has been called the 22nd Avenue Fire. Together, the brush fires are charring 4,000 acres of the county on the western edge of the Everglades.
🚨WILDFIRE ALERT🚨 3 Collier County fires in progress, 12 @FLForestService units working: #22ndAveFire: 1500 acres… https://t.co/vLG3GD6Kpn— FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (@FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services)1589418369.0
The weather pattern has created a ripe atmosphere for the fires to burn. According to the Florida Forest Service, high winds and low humidity are providing fuel to the flames.
The agency has deployed three single-engine air tankers, two helicopters, and a fixed-wing aircraft to do battle with the fires. An air rescue helicopter from the Collier County Sheriff's Office is also assisting the Florida Forest Service with water drops, and a legion of local firefighters.
The #22ndAveFire and #36thAveFire remain a combined 4,000 acres and 0 percent contained at this time. Continue to… https://t.co/zL4dRv9dqK— FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (@FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services)1589424337.0
Currently, neither fire has been contained, and mandatory evacuations have been ordered for areas east of the Collier landfill, a mobile home park, and horse farms off Benfield Road. All areas west of the Collier landfill are under a voluntary evacuation order.
For those evacuating, food and water are available at Max Hasse Park, 3390 Golden Gate Blvd. W., in Naples. The brush fires have affected traffic, as Alligator Alley (Interstate 75) has been shut down by the Florida Highway Patrol between mile markers 80 and 101.
An emergency message from Collier County regarding the Golden Gate Estates brush fire. https://t.co/WCZmTjjVvY— CollierCountySheriff (@CollierCountySheriff)1589429173.0
There are over 73 active wildfires currently raging across the state, burning over 10,000 acres, the latest of which was the Musset Bayou fire, which resulted in the arrest of a man for reckless burning.