Wildfires burn through Charlotte, Hendry, Lee and Collier counties

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A wildfire broke out near U.S. 41 and Estero Boulevard in Lee County Friday afternoon. (San Carlos Park Fire Department)

FORT MYERS, Fla. Wildfires burned through four Southwest Florida counties on Friday.

The first scorched 150 acres in the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation and Big Cypress Natural Preserve, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fire Management Division said.

The reservation has a Hendry County address while the preserve is in Collier County.

Firefighters from Bonita Springs and Estero assisted with the morning fire.

A second brush fire ignited Friday afternoon around 1:09 p.m. on Oil Well Road in Punta Gorda, which burned 302 acres and threatened several homes, the Florida Forest Service said. It was 95 percent contained by 7:00 p.m.

“Right now my heart is in my stomach,” said Sherry Johnson, who lives near the impacted area. “I’m not concerned about my house. I’m concerned about my critters. That’s my concern is that they’re okay. Nothing else matters because (her house) can be replaced but they can’t.”

Evacuations were lifted Friday night for homes on Bass, Valhalla and Catfish roads, as well as residences on North and South Jack Road, the Florida Forest Service said.

Oil Well Road was closed Friday afternoon due to the fire.

A third fire burned about 114 acres in San Carlos Park near U.S. 41 and Unique Circle, the San Carlos Park Fire District said. It was 100 percent contained by 7 p.m., the forest service said.

An evacuation order was in place for homes along the south side of Unique Circle until about 5:40 p.m.

WINK Weather meteorologist Zach Maloch captured flames and smoke from the San Carlos Park fire:

U.S. 41 Southbound between Sanibel Boulevard and Hickory Drive was closed for several hours before reopening just before 6 p.m.

North Collier Fire & Rescue assisted with the fires in San Carlos Park and in the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation and Big Cypress Natural Preserve.

Lee County was under a red flag warning until 6 p.m.:

The three fires occurred as Collier continues to recover from a 7,230 acre wildfire inside the Picayune Strand State Forest last week that destroyed four homes, forced evacuations and closed I-75 along Alligator Alley.

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