Collier ‘burnout’ along US 41 forces parents to pick up students early

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Confusion and frustration surrounded Manatee Middle School Thursday afternoon after parents received phone calls asking them to pick up their children.

“I honestly do not know, I was just in class and they basically started calling us down telling us we were going home,” said Christelle Joseph.

And this isn’t the first time students have been let out early for something like this. It’s all due to the Florida Forest Service’s seven-mile burnout along U.S. 41.

“I think it is kind of ridiculous how they couldn’t have planned this in advance to make sure everyone could’ve gotten out of school safer,” said student Sonya Rodriguez.

And although it inconvenienced parents and students at seven schools across Collier County, the Forest Service says it’s necessary.

“The wind conditions are right for us to get it away from the road, so when we get rid of that fuel, that threat isn’t there anymore when that north wind comes in,” said Fred Boehm with the Florida Forest Service.

He says it will make the headache worth the pain for those just trying to make it through another brush fire season.

“I have faith in what they are doing, so if it’s going to help the others die down then I have faith,” Joseph said.

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