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Evacuation Orders Lifted, I-75 Reopened As Firefighters Make Progress On Stubborn Wildfire

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Forest Service officials said firefighting efforts will continue into the night in Collier County as a stubborn brush fire, burning since Sunday, has scorched 7,500 acres.

Positive deployments Wednesday included evacuation orders being lifted and the reopening of I-75, which had been closed for a 25-mile stretch due to low visibility from the smoke.

Collier County Fire
Efforts are ongoing to put out a large fire in Collier County. (Source: CBS4)

Neighbors at the Club Naples RV Resort celebrated being back home Wednesday night. They were forced to evacuate Tuesday afternoon when the Lee Williams Road wildfire got awfully close.

"When we left here you could see the fire was right there and you could see the flames in the trees," said resident Darlene Sparks.

"It was just billowing," said resident Marcia Chichester. "You couldn't even see much into the woods there.  It was really hot and we were worried everything was going to be gone when we got back."

Although damage was spared in that community, the Florida Forest Service said elsewhere three homes and multiple outbuildings were not so lucky.

Daniel Zurbrigg helped get his father-in-law out of his home before it was destroyed.

"It was scary. I wouldn't wish to ever see that again," said Zurbrigg.

Nearly 120 firefighters brought the fire to 40-percent containment and the Florida Forest Service said crews working into the night are keeping a close eye on how the weather may affect their progress.

"Humidity is going to be lower with some wind gusts up to, I think, about five miles an hour," said Florida Forest Service spokeswoman Samantha Quinn. "So with that, there is a chance that some reactivity could reignite."

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