Governor Rick Scott has activated the Florida National Guard to assist in the efforts in Golden Gate Estates.
As the brush fires continue to burn and move, a mandatory evacuation notice is now in effect, as of 11:40 a.m. on Friday, for residents residing between White Boulevard and the interstate and between 39th Street and Tobias Street.
Max Hasse Community Park was closed as of 1 p.m. due to wildfire conditions. The Golden Gate Estates Library was also closed as a precaution.
Big Cypress Elementary School students were bussed to Oak Ridge Middle after 12:30 p.m. for parents to pick up their children.
Residents should continue to closely monitor conditions and feel free to contact the emergency hotline at (239) 252-8444.
Collier County Manager Leo Ochs has authorized a burn ban in Collier County, effective immediately.
Per Collier County Ordinance 2013-22, the County Manager may institute an immediate ban of outdoor burning and outdoor ignition sources during extreme drought conditions. The ban prohibits open burning, which is any outdoor fire or open combustion of material that produces visible emissions, of trash and yard waste, which includes vegetative matter resulting from landscaping and yard maintenance operations.
The decision came after a meeting between the Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services, Florida Forest Service, Collier County Fire Chiefs’ Association and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. The group jointly identified a need to have a burning ban become effective immediately after certain environmental conditions were met, including lack of rainfall in January and February.
The ban includes all of unincorporated Collier County, but exempts all commercial agricultural burning, lawful controlled industrial or commercial environments that are part of the manufacturing or some type of assembly process, and those burning activities regulated by the Florida Forest Service. The ban has no impact on the retail sales of fireworks for now.
In addition, outdoor grills, stoves, cookers and smokers may be used in the preparation of food if the cooking fire is controlled and attended to, according to the county. All outdoor cooking areas shall be free of burnable materials within an area having a circumference of 3 feet beyond the nearest edge of the cooking fire.
Violation of the order, if it is found to cause irreparable or irreversible damage, can warrant a fine of up to $15,000.
In order to respond to questions about the wildfire threat in eastern Collier County, the Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services announces the opening of the Emergency Information Hotline at 9:30 a.m. today. The Collier Emergency Information Hotline numbers are (239) 252-8444 or 311 (Collier County only) and will be open until further notice.
The ban will remain in effect until May 12 or until otherwise rescinded.
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