Brush Fire Destroys Florida Homes

Strike teams have helped contain the blaze

 

ALEXI C. CARDONA, Naples Daily News

The fire that has torn through Golden Gate Estates is now 50% contained and held steady through Saturday night and Sunday morning at 5,531 acres.

The mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders have been lifted, and residents are allowed to go back to their homes.

Public safety officials on Sunday morning said the rain has helped firefighting efforts, but they are still actively working pockets in the interior of the blaze.

“The rain gods are to be thanked today,” said Dan Summers, director of the Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services.

Greater Naples Fire Rescue Chief Kingman Schuldt said officials may have overestimated the number of homes that were lost.

“We have confirmed that three homes were destroyed,” Schuldt said. “Three families were permanently displaced. The other structures were likely work sheds and similar structures.”

The fire chief said he didn’t want to overstate the news and that fire crews are going door-to-door with the Red Cross to help those who have been displaced.

Schuldt said that firefighters and strike teams from all over the state have helped contain the blaze and that there are plans to scale back some local staffing of the fire.

“Local emergency staff have been worked to a max,” Schuldt said.

Officials said there is a risk of trees and power lines falling and urged the public to be vigilant.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies will still route traffic in the area of the fire. Officials said heavy equipment will continue to be seen on the roads.

“Be careful around the heavy fire apparatus. Give us space to work,” Schuldt said.

Copyright © 2017 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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