Wildfires east of Naples, FL force evacuations

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The fires have burned at least 4,000 acres

Map for the 36th Ave. SE Fire wildfire Naples Florida
Map for the 36th Ave. SE Fire, released by the Florida Forest Service, May 15, 2020.

(UPDATED at 1:37 p.m. EDT May 15, 2020)

The Florida Forest Service Green Incident Management Team assumed command of the 36th Ave SE Fire at 7 a.m. today. The team reports the latest size of the fire is 8,500 acres.

Mandatory evacuations are still in place on both sides of Alligator Alley (Interstate 75). Friday morning, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office gave an update on the situation, saying no additional evacuations are expected today those in effect will remain throughout the day.

Currently, the FFS has 16 tractor/plow units from around the state battling the blaze, along with 3 single engine air tankers, 1 fixed wing aircraft, and 4 helicopters, including the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Air Rescue 1 which is assisting with water drops.

A large air tanker out of Lake City, Florida an MD-87, is also being used. Yesterday the aircraft completed four sorties to the fire — each time dropping 4,000 gallons.


map wildfires Naples Florida
Map showing heat detected by satellites on the 22nd Ave. SE and the 36th Ave. SE fires, at 12:30 a.m. EDT May 14, 2020.

(UPDATED at 6:25 p.m. EDT May 14, 2020)

The two wildfires 10 to 12 miles east of Naples, Florida have merged and by 4 p.m. EDT Thursday had grown to about 8,000 acres according to the Florida Forest Service (FFS). The fire is now known as the 36th Ave. SE Fire.

The FFS is working in unified command with local fire and emergency responders, including the Greater Naples Fire Rescue, North Collier Fire Rescue, Marco Island Fire Rescue, Collier County Emergency Management, Collier County Sheriff’s Office and many others. Currently, the FFS has 16 tractor/plow units battling the blaze, along with 3 single engine air tankers, 1 fixed wing aircraft, and 3 helicopters, including the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Air Rescue 1, which is assisting with water drops.

Additional FFS resources have been deployed, including the Green Incident Management Team, a dozer strike team from Northeast Florida, and 2 dozer strike teams which are en route from the Five Mile Swamp Fire in the Panhandle. The Florida Fire Chiefs Association is securing resources to provide additional structure protection.

Details about evacuations can be found at the Facebook page for Collier County Emergency Management.

Currently, there are 80 active wildfires burning nearly 16,000 acres in Florida. Last week, the Florida Forest Service battled the 2,000-acre #5MileSwamp Fire in Santa Rosa County and the #MussettBayouFire in Walton County, in which an arrest was announced on Tuesday.

wildfires Naples Florida
Wildfire east of Naples Florida. Photo May 14, 2020 by Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.


(Originally published at 1 p.m. EDT May 14, 2020)

Two wildfires about 12 miles east of Naples, Florida have prompted mandatory evacuations and closed parts of Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley). Named 22nd Ave. SE Fire and 36th Ave. SE Fire, the two blazes merged Wednesday night and have burned approximately 4,000 acres according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office  in a Wednesday evening update. That night, pushed by winds described as moderate, the fire spread south across the Interstate requiring additional evacuations.

The fire behavior was described as extreme and burning embers were causing spot fires. Greater Naples Fire reported “several” structures have been lost or damaged, but they did not have an exact number.

At 1 p.m. EDT Thursday Interstate 75 was still closed between Highway 29 and Collier Blvd.

The Florida Forest Service has mobilized the Green Incident Management Team to assist local firefighters.

wildfires Naples Florida
Photo of the 22nd Ave. SE and the 36th Ave. SE wildfires, May 13, 2020. Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
map wildfires Naples Florida
Evacuation map posted by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday night.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Rob. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

5 thoughts on “Wildfires east of Naples, FL force evacuations”

    1. Florida has 2 seasons – rainy season and dry season. The winter is the dry season and by the spring, everything is very dry unless it has been a wet winter. This past year it was not a wet winter and there has been a drought in Florida. Even in the areas where there is standing water in the summer, it can completely dry up in winter. They need rain so badly to fill the swamps back up. People have lost their homes – it is awful.

    2. You’ve never been the Florida then. In most places during the spring/early summer, it will get dry enough to burn through cypress and titi swamp. . Southern fuels are very responsive to fire when under semi-drought conditions and some produce enough volatile oil to burn hot enough even with RH % in the 50’. This particular fire cranked out 4,000 acres in an evening with 45-50% RH and 20-30mph gusts primarily due to heavy palmetto, gallberry and cabbage palm fuels.

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