Collier County fire is at least 70 percent contained
ERIC STAATS, Naples Daily News
A 7,500-acre brush fire that has been burning in Collier County for nearly a week was 70 percent contained Saturday morning, up from about 65 percent contained, the Florida Forest Service reported.
About 150 federal, state and local firefighters are using bulldozers, brush trucks and aircraft to dig fire lines and battle the blaze in the Picayune Strand State Forest east of Naples and south of the Alligator Alley stretch of Interstate 75.
Four rural homes were burned last week in the fire, which filled the sky over Collier with thick smoke. Nobody was hurt. The fire prompted road closures and evacuations of Club Naples RV Resort, Panther’s Walk RV Resort and along Benfield Road and Newman Drive. Residents since have been allowed to return home.
Officials said the brush fire was human-caused but not necessarily arson and is still under investigation.
Firefighters worked overnight to monitor the fire and extinguish hot spots, keep the fire from spreading and focus on suppression around homes, the Forest Service reported.
Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam toured the fire damage Friday. Scott lauded what he called a “team effort” to fight the fire and warned residents to prepare for a busy wildfire season.
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