Smoke billows as residents react to fire burning in Collier forest

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Screenshot taken from video via Stuart Blount

Smoke can be seen billowing as a fire continues burning Monday Picayune Strand State Forest.

The flames, which sparked Sunday, scorched 4,800 acres, according to the Florida Forest Service. It’s 70 percent contained.

Collier County resident Charmaine Boyer described her experience as clouds of smoke and ash fill the sky in Collier County.

“We had clothes sitting out to dry and there was ashes on the clothes,” Boyer said.

Collier County resident resident Gene Demers said he could smell the smoke despite his cold.

Fire crews planned to burn the Picayune Strand State Forest off to prevent an overactive brush fire season, but the controlled burn got out of hand.

WINK News meteorologist Matt Devitt said there could be similarities this year as compared to last year’s brush fire.

“This year, though not as bad so far, we’re looking at almost the same dynamics,” Devitt said.

Low humidity, occasional winds and dry soil are contributing factors, and if there is a spark, there is a higher chance of a fire growing.

“Be careful about your cigarettes and outdoor burning, unless you absolutely have to do it please don’t do it because that can make the situation worse,” Devitt said.

The fire is burning deep in the forest, and has not yet threatened any homes.

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