Bonita Springs Fla-- Wind Whipped 500 Acre Forest Fire
NAPLES DAILY NEWS
Wind complicates efforts to fight south Lee brush fire
Wednesday, April 9, 2003
By SONJA BJELLAND, firstname.lastname@example.org
BONITA SPRINGS — Firefighters tackled 500 acres of burning forest east of Bonita Springs on Tuesday that did not damage any homes.
About 1 p.m., the Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District responded to a small fire off Bonita Beach Road and Faygin Lane, about two miles east of Interstate 75, said Debbi Redfield, a district spokeswoman. As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, the fire was traveling northeast and not considered under control.
"One of the biggest problems today and this afternoon was the wind," she said Tuesday. "The wind picked up and changed conditions. The fire follows the wind basically."
Melaleuca and dense forest in that area required the state Division of Forestry to bring in tractors to create paths for the brush fire trucks to access the blaze. Then they created a circle around part of the area to help contain it. One of those tractor drivers was overcome with heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation and had to be taken to North Collier Hospital, Redfield said.
Redfield said 81 people from 20 agencies helped with the fire, including the American Red Cross, which provided food and drinks. They used a helicopter and small plane to fight the flames.
Fewer than 10 homes and business are in the area, so no one was evacuated and no structures were damaged.
"There can be hunting camps and cabins but nothing we have been notified of or we have seen," she said.
Between 9 and 10 p.m., the fire districts were shutting down operations and having brush trucks stand by. Redfield said fires usually die down at night when the winds calm. Today crews will survey the damage and search for any structures that may have been destroyed.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The heavy smoke caused slow moving on the interstate from onlookers during rush hour.
April 6-12 also has been designated Wildfire Awareness Week by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
In Collier County, around 85 acres burned off Collier Boulevard near Marino Circle on Tuesday afternoon when a controlled burn by a private company got out of control around 2 p.m. The prescribed burn originally was about 30 acres behind Southern Sand and Stone Inc., authorities say.
No houses were threatened by the fire, which was under control by around 6:30 p.m. Golden Gate fire spokesman Victor Hill said firefighters were concerned about blowing smoke reaching Interstate 75 and signs were going to be put up to warn motorists if the smoke shifted.
East Naples, North Naples and Division of Forestry firefighters also were called to the scene.
Staff Writer Brigid O'Malley contributed to this report.
Wind causes fire to gain ground
FLORIDA TIMES UNION
Friday, April 11, 2003
Story last updated at 05:15 a.m. on Friday, April 11, 2003
Firefighters battle brush fire east of Bonita Springs
The Associated Press
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. - Firefighters worked into a fourth day Friday to extinguish a brush fire that had burnt 600 acres but had so far left houses and people untouched.
Fire officials could not immediately comment on the blaze's progress east of Bonita Springs early Friday. It had been under control Wednesday, but winds gusting up to 30 mph Thursday caused the fire to grow stronger, Bonita Springs Fire Department spokeswoman Debbi Redfield said.
The fire burnt 100 acres Thursday, on top of the 500 that had been scorched since it started Tuesday
The flames threatened nine house and farm buildings in a rural area, Redfield said Thursday. By nightfall, firefighters were able to protect all the structures from the advancing flames, she added.
She said a road in the fire's path would act as a barrier.
The melaleuca, pine and palm trees burnt by the fire gave off thick clouds of smoke that limited the vision of the more than 100 firefighters trying to control the blaze.
No residents had been harmed, but one forestry firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.
High winds were forecast Friday morning.