Smoke from several fires blanketing south Collier, Marco Island

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Caloosahatchee FC

Multiple brush fires are currently active across Southwest Florida. The most active is burning on 116th Avenue near U.S. 41 in the Picyuane Strand Forest.

The fire is 2,200 acres and only 10 percent contained as of Saturday evening.

At least one home was evacuated from the area, and others are being told to prepare to leave.

Smoke from this fire covered most of Alligator Alley Saturday afternoon. Now, the Florida Forest Service is working on keeping that fire deep in the Picayune Strand State Forest and away from homes in Collier County.

Crews are staged at two major locations—on the North and East ends of the fire.

Officials say the fire has two heads and could threaten people living on both of those ends.

Another fire in Collier, the Greenway fire, has reached 3,000 acres, and has covered the county is smoke and ash. At least one business said they were prepared to fight off the flames as they inch closer and closer.

“It’s not good, it’s really scary,” said Naples resident John Sidie.

As shoppers visited a citrus grove off Sabal Palm Road, many stopped to stare as huge plumes of smoke billowed less than a mile away.

“It’s like there’s snow coming down, there’s so much ash,” Sidie said.

“I was very surprised,” said Naples resident Bob Forster. “I didn’t realize that fires could travel that fast and that far.”

Owner Bobby Smits says fire crews are standing by to protect his business if the flames continue to spread. But he and his employees are ready to protect their crops.

“We’ve got 120 acres here,” Smits said. “It could jump you know. We’ve seen it before. It’ll jump a half a mile to a mile too.”

Knowing flames could destroy businesses like his and nearby homes, many are thinking about what they just went through with Hurricane Irma.

“People are still getting repairs from the hurricane and now they have this to worry about,” Sidie said.

The fire danger across the state remains extremely high, and the Florida Forest Service says conditions range from high to extreme, meaning more fires could pop up.

In Collier County, fire crews have told residents to be on alert, as flames are approaching.

People who live in the Verona Walk, Sabal Palm and Winding Cypress communities have been put on notice that the fires are spreading and could potentially cause evacuations in the near future.

Brush trucks and firefighters have been working tirelessly to contain the fire for several days. Neighbors say they have tractors filled with water ready to fight the flames if they get closer to threatening properties or nearby orange groves.

People living in these communities say they’re worried the wind direction could shift and send smoke and flames near communities off of Collier Boulevard.

Officials have already warned residents and visitors to south Collier County, including those on Marco Island, of smoke-filled skies. Anyone with respiratory or breathing problems should remain indoors, officials say.

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