NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — A portion of Interstate 75 that’s also known as Alligator Alley remains shut down Wednesday due to smoky conditions from a wildfire that is burning in southwest Florida, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Lt. Gregory Bueno said in an email that motorists should seek alternatives routes on the highway that runs between Naples on Florida’s Gulf Coast to the Fort Lauderdale area on the Atlantic Coast. It’s the major east-west route across southern Florida.
The road was closed Tuesday after smoke from a 6,000-acre brush fire in Collier County’s Picayune Strand State Forest caused poor visibility, Bueno said. Troopers are continuing to monitor conditions.
Florida Forest Service spokeswoman Samantha Quinn tells the Naples Daily News (http://bit.ly/2lDfFsQ ) the fire has destroyed two homes in eastern Collier County. No injuries were reported.
Residents of several nearby communities, including recreational vehicle parks in Naples, have been evacuated.
“I’m scared,” said Thompson Goble, 55, who lives at the Club Naples RV Resort east of Naples. “I don’t know what I’m going to go back to. Where am I going to go if there is nothing left?”
Goble was among a group of evacuees who gathered at the Golden Gate Community Center on Tuesday afternoon.
Michael Godin, 75, said this is the first time he and his wife June have had to evacuate their home at Club Naples, even when hurricanes have threatened.
“Fire’s a little different,” he said.
The weather and windy conditions across much of Florida helped spread the fire, said Collier County Emergency Services Director Dan Summers. He says it was about 30 percent contained Tuesday night.
The cause of the fire was unclear.
Information from: Naples (Fla.) Daily News, http://www.naplesnews.com