Collier County brush fire now 90% contained

Posted at 7:45 AM, Mar 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 12:11:24-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- Firefighters continue to mop up hot spots and strategically remove any dead or dying trees to mitigate hazards and rekindling.  Residents are strongly advised to stay clear of any areas that firefighters are continuing to patrol. 

The fire is now 90 percent contained as of Tuesday.  At this point the cause is still under investigation.  Investigators have ruled out lightning or a prescribed burn as a potential cause.

Three homes have been destroyed during the nine day fire.   All evacuation orders have been lifted, and all roads near the fire are open.

According to the Florida Forest Service, approximately 1,000 structures were saved during this wildfire. 

All recreational facilities in Picayune Strand State Forest are closed due to wildfire until further notice. 

Friday, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam described the conditions fire crews were facing earlier this week. "We're looking at a week-long event, that was moving at 30 miles an hour, throwing hot embers a half a mile in front of it, with hundred-foot flames crowning at the treetops in the middle of the night...vastling outrunning the dozers that were trying to put in fire lines."

Even though the firefighters are getting the upper hand, they're not letting their guard down.  Right now, many are monitoring the smoldering rubble left behind. Flares ups are happening because fire is burning just under the surface.

Firefighters are paying special attention to areas that were evacuated, like the Club Naples RV Park.

Neighbors say they are also watching their backyards closely.  “We got hot spots popping up.  I just dumped water on another one that was two feet tall," says resident Marsha Chichester. "I said there's got to be a better way to do this besides standing here with a hose, and he said ‘why don't you get sprinklers."

Forestry officials have been doing periodic checks around the communities affected by the fire.  If you see any flare ups, you're asked to call them immediately.

And if you live in Collier County and you have questions related to the fire, Collier County Emergency Services has a hotline open at (239) 252-8444.