Bonita Springs Fire Department keeping watch over wildfire area; Kent Road fire 100% contained
Monday fire updates:
6:30 p.m. update:
Thanks to the hard work from local firefighters from multiple Lee County agencies, there is 100% containment on the last of the wildfires off Kent Road. Crews of firefighters will continue to monitor the area and will be out again first thing Tuesday morning to watch over hot spots.
1 p.m. update:
The South Strike Team of brush trucks are in Bonita Springs assisting Bonita Springs Firefighters and Forestry Firefighters with what is hoped to be the final push to fully extinguish all hot spots and smoldering stumps. The wildfire by Kent Road is still considered 95% contained. If you don’t live in the area, plan to stay away unless necessary. Large firefighting vehicles are making entry on Kent Road. Additional unnecessary vehicles from bystanders taking pictures make firefighting efforts more complicated.
Sunday wildfire update:
Firefighters from across Lee County returned to a section of land off the east side of I-75 near East Terry Street in Bonita Springs Sunday morning that was the scene of multiple wildfires Saturday and were dealing with remaining spot fires in the same area.
Three homes were damaged in the Saturday afternoon wildfire, at least one severely; further confirmation on total damages was not yet available.
Residents in neighboring areas were allowed to return to threatened homes late Saturday night. Fire officials said the smell of burned vegetation would be noticeable Sunday with smoke likely to be pushed higher by winds that could pick back up and affect smoldering spots.
Firefighters were expected to be on-scene throughout the day Sunday to keep an eye on hot spots.
The nearly 30-acre wildfire along Interstate 75 in Bonita Springs closed a section of the freeway Saturday afternoon and prompted residential evacuations. Firefighters from Bonita Springs Fire Department and neighboring departments responded.
Residents in the Morton Road and Lake Shalimar area were given clearance to return to homes after 10 p.m. Saturday; residents in the Kent Road and Jefferson Road areas may still be without power due to downed power lines.
Three divisions of firefighting teams worked the Bonita Springs fire. The wildfire behind Kent Road and the YMCA became the largest of the spot fires in Bonita Springs at about 20-25 acres.
A wildfire along Interstate 75 in Bonita Springs closed a section of the freeway Saturday afternoon and prompted residential evacuations.
Smoke and flames were seen in an area from mile markers 116 to 119 and in the vicinity of the Bonita Beach Road exit along I-75 around 3:30 p.m.
Helicopters from South Florida Fire and Aviation and Collier County Sheriff's Office were dropping buckets of water on the flames and the Lee County Sheriff's Office chopper was being used as an aerial fire command and control platform.
Southbound Interstate 75 remained open with northbound traffic diverted to U.S. 41 or the Imperial Parkway/Three Oaks Parkway corridor. The left and center northbound lanes reopened at 5:46 p.m. with the outside right lane closed from mile marker 116 to mile marker 118, for onsite fire/emergency crews.
All I-75 on-ramps from Corkscrew Road to Bonita Beach Road were also closed for a time because of the fire, the Lee County Sheriff's Office reported.
Fire crews from multiple departments responded to the fire. The flames were threatening a section of homes east of the freeway and evacuations were reported. Bonita Springs Firefighters and other local fire agencies working the fires asked people to avoid traveling in the area.
The FHP also said winds are currently blowing smoke to the east, away from 75 and that troopers would continue to closely monitor and provide additional updates as needed.
I-75 incident cameras showed blackened areas along the interstate as well as flames on the east side of the highway.
The Florida Forest Service said the fire encompassed about 20 acres and was about 5 percent contained.
The FHP said the wildfires, smoke, fog and heavy rain can all lower visibility on the roads. It is important for motorist to drive as safely as possible in these conditions.
- DRIVE WITH LIGHTS on low beam. High beams will only be reflected off the fog and impair visibility even more. Your lights help other drivers see your vehicle, so be sure they all work. Keep your windshield and headlights clean, to reduce the glare and increase visibility.
- SLOW DOWN – and watch your speedometer before you enter a patch of fog.
- WATCH OUT for slow-moving and parked vehicles. Open you window a little and listen for traffic you cannot see.
- REDUCE THE DISTRACTIONS in your vehicle. Turn off the radio and cell phone. Your full attention is required.
- USE WIPERS AND DEFROSTERS liberally for maximum visibility. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if poor visibility is due to fog or moisture on the windshield.
- USE THE RIGHT EDGE of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
- BE PATIENT avoid passing and/or changing lanes.
- SIGNAL TURNS well in advance and brake early as you approach a stop.
- DO NOT STOP on a freeway or heavily traveled road. You could become the first link in a chain-reaction collision. If you must pull off the road, signal, then carefully pull off as far as possible and turn your hazard lights on.
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