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Wildfires continue to grow in Southwest Florida

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 20:44:10-04

Crews are still battling several large wildfires in Southwest Florida. The biggest are in Collier County. 

The Greenway Fire was 100 percent contained Thursday, but another brush fire merged with it and it grew to 1,600 acres. It was only 25% contained as of Friday afternoon.

The Flag Pond Fire in the Picayune Strand State Forest grew from about 800 acres Thursday to 2,600 on Friday, and was 70% contained. Voluntary evacuations for people living in Picayune Strand were issued Thursday, and remained in effect Friday.

"Crews are actively working out there to establish containment lines," said Samantha Quinn, spokeswoman for the Florida Forest Service.

"The winds are so erratic that we may have an idea where it's going one second, but with the winds shifting, it could come back to an area," she added. "So we just want everyone to be prepared."

Ten homes in Picayune Strand were threatened were threatened by the Flag Pond Fire Thursday. While several outbuildings were destroyed, no homes were lost, thanks to fire crews that were stationed at those properties to defend against the wildfire.

The Collier County Sheriff's Office's Huey helicopter assisted firefighters by dropping numerous buckets of water on the Flag Pond Fire.

Smoke from the fires has caused problems in Marco Island, where police have advised people with respiratory conditions to stay indoors until conditions improve.

Another large wildfire is called the West Boundary Fire, in eastern Collier County. Friday, it was estimated to be about 1,000 acres, and 50% contained.