Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis announced Friday that seven fire strike teams from across the state will deploy to assist local firefighters in Collier County.
“A large-scale wildfire has engulfed parts of Collier County in Southwest Florida causing untold damage and forcing the evacuation of many residents in the area,” Patronis said. My office has worked with state and local fire officials to deploy seven Fire Strike Teams made up of 33 departments with 54 fire engines and support units to the area to aid in combating this blaze.”
Patronis said he has also been in touch with North Collier Fire Chief Eloy Ricardo and Greater Naples Fire Rescue Chief Kingman Schuldt to offer support from his office.
All mandatory Collier County evacuations remain in place.
— FL Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services (@FDACS) May 15, 2020
Since Tuesday, the Florida Forest Service and local fire crews have struggled to battle the blaze. Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the blaze has strengthened throughout the week.
As of Friday evening, the fire had grown to 8,663 acres and was 40% containment.
The striker teams will join the fight alongside 16 plows, three single-engine air tankers, two helicopters, and one fixed-wing aircraft in addition to local fire crews.
They will also be assisted by Green Incident Management Team, a dozer strike team from Northwest Florida, and two dozer strike teams that traveled from the Five Mile Swamp Fire in the Panhandle on Thursday.
“I ask that all residents please heed all evacuation orders and warnings from local officials and pray for our heroes as they battle this wildfire,” Patronis said.
There are 89 active wildfires across the state of Florida consuming over 15,000 acres.