Several brush fires burning a total over 5,000 acres shut down a section of Interstate 75 in southwest Florida on Wednesday, officials said.
One of the fires threatened about 30 homes in the Collier County area of Golden Gate Estates, according to the Florida Forestry Service. A toll section of I-75 known as Alligator Alley is shut down for about 20 miles starting east of Naples, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
“These are extremely dangerous and fast-moving wildfires that can change rapidly, so everyone in the affected area should follow directions from state and local officials,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were coordinating voluntary evacuations in the areas near the fires, the Naples Daily News reported.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for a horse farm and mobile home park in the eastern part of Collier County as the fire was not contained as of Thursday morning.
The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District led efforts to fight the blazes, while two Lee County strike teams and one Sarasota County team also responded, Naples Fire Chief Kingman Schuldt said.