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Wildfire Continues To Flare In Southwest Florida As Alligator Alley Reopens

Flames from Collier County wildfire
Florida Forest Service
The fires began Wednesday and had damaged or destroyed several structures in Collier County by Thursday.

Authorities say a section of Interstate 75 known as Alligator Alley has reopened after four brush fires that eventually merged in southwest Florida caused it to close a day earlier.

The state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Affairs on Thursday evening said the fire has grown to about 8,500 acres and is about 10% contained.

The fires began Wednesday and had damaged or destroyed several structures in Collier County by Thursday.

After starting with voluntary evacuations Wednesday, officials were ordering mandatory evacuations by Thursday in the areas near the fires.

The efforts to fight the fires were led by the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District.