Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wildfires in Florida - Lee Williams Road Fire (Collier County)

March 10th 5:10 PM update: The Lee Williams Road Fire that I wrote about yesterday, see below, remains at about 7,500 acres burned and is at 65 percent containment.

March 9th

Winter is wildfire season in Florida, as of March 9th, there were 59 wildland fires burning in Florida for a total of 16,511 acres, with eight being over 100 acres. See the map below that I obtained from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Wildland Fire Division.
Obtained on March 9, 2017 from
I have been thinking about the wildfires burning in Florida this winter, but had not yet written about Florida this winter. In the course of reading and following the awful wildfire outbreak in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, I learned about a wildfire that is currently burning outside Naples Florida, in and near the Picayune Strand Forest in Collier County, FL. So, I knew that I had to spend a little time learning about what is going in Florida and to focus on the fire burning outside Naples known as the Lee Williams Rd Fire. That fire, started on Sunday, March 5th, the cause of the fire is under investigation, according to today's update from Collier County (see this March 9th report from Collier County, link live at the time I posted this article).

As of Thursday afternoon, March 9th, the fire had burned 7,500 acres and is at 50 percent containment. At least three residences and several outbuildings have been destroyed. Evacuations were in place earlier this week and were lifted Tuesday night or Wednesday. Portions of I-75 was closed at least twice. 

I found the following video, shot on Tuesday evening March 6th, on the Immokalee Fire Control District’s Facebook Page

And some photos shot and uploaded by Joey Weiner, a local photographer.

I understand that at least one air tanker and some helicopters have worked this wildfire and other wildfires in Florida. Video below from Joey Weiner

Here is a map of the Lee Williams Road Fire in the Picayune Strand Forest that I obtained from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Wildland Fire Division.

Map obtained on March 9th from

I'd like to close on a more personal note. As some of you may know, I have had a special affinity for the Everglades and environs in south Florida for quite sometime. About fifteen years ago I spent a week south of Orlando and during that week, I took a couple of days to drive to the Naples, where I stayed in a hotel near a gulf course and spent a wonderful day driving along the Tamiami Trail (south of I-75), and took a couple of tours of the Everglades, one on a boat that left from Everglades City. While I understand the importance of fire the Everglades ecosystem, I am saddened that some have lost their houses to the Lee Williams Rd Fire. I'd like to thank all the firefighters, on the ground and in the air for working this fire.

More information on wildfire in Picayune Strand Fores:

Wildfires elsewhere in Florida:

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