Spreading Collier Brush Fire Causes Mandatory Evacuations and Road Closures

Mar 7, 2017

Last Updated: Tuesday, 10:15 a.m.
A brush fire that began Sunday, Feb. 5 in Picayune Strand State Forest burned through more than 7,200 acres and is about 85 percent contained in Collier County, prompting mandatory evacuations and road closures last week. At this time, Collier County officials said all evacuation orders have been lifted and all roads have been re-opened. 

Credit Florida Highway Patrol

A press release warned affected residents that their homes will be smoky and there are possible hot spots in the area. The release also said Florida Power and Light crews have been working to restore power, but there may still be some outages. 

Some evacuees had been staying at Golden Gate Community Center Tuesday to Wednesday for services during the mandatory evacuation. 

So far, four homes have been lost to the fire.  Three homes on Le Buff Road were destroyed along with another home slightly further east on Benfield Road.

Officials now said the fire was human-caused but not necessarily arson. Strong wind gusts earlier that week fanned the flames westward toward Collier Boulevard, making the fire especially difficult to contain.

A Collier County Sheriff's Office spokesperson told The Naples Daily News that Beck Boulevard was shut down again around 3:00 p.m. Thursday because of a flare-up. A tree that was on fire took down a power line, but officials said the fire was put out shortly after. Beck Boulevard has since re-opened.

Blog post subject to change with updates from officials.