BREAKING: Florida Cities EVACUATED- National Guard DEPLOYED

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Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS –

Thousands of Floridians are under mandatory evacuation orders as more than 115 wildfires scorch the state, the Florida Forest Service said Saturday.

Governor Rick Scott has deployed the state’s National Guard, including five UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, to help firefighters mitigate the massive wildfire, which started Thursday.

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FEMA has approved two fire management assistance grants to aid the response in Polk and Lee Counties, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said.

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A mandatory evacuation of a Polk County community in Florida is in place following a suspicious brush fire.

Officials said the fire burned at least 600 acres on Friday, and there’s fear it could spark back up on Saturday. Extremely dry conditions fueled the fire, which is now being considered suspicious. As of 10 a.m. Saturday, the fire was said to be 60 percent contained.

All residents of Indian Lake Estates, which is southeast of Lakes Wales, are under a mandatory evacuation. The Red Cross set up a shelter at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales on E. Central Ave. for those displaced by the fires.

There are about 800 homes and 8,000 lots in the evacuation area. Sheriff Grady Judd said some people had refused to leave their homes, in spite of the evacuation order, but said he had a chance to view the fires from the air and urged anyone still able to evacuate to do so.

Roadways were being monitored for visibility due to smoke, as well as fire dangers. There are no road closures as of Saturday morning.

Investigators were looking into the possibility of arsonists setting the fires. A $5,000 reward is being offered for information about the cause of the fires.

Thirteen homes in Lee County have been damaged or destroyed by a 400-acre wildfire, Scott said.

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More than 2,000 homes are under a mandatory evacuation order in the county, which includes Fort Myers on the southern part of the Gulf Coast.

Further south in neighboring Collier County, a fire near the Golden Gate Estates section of Naples has grown to 5,500 acres, Scott said.

Mandatory evacuation zone includes more than 6,000 structures. Two trailers, two vehicles, and several outbuildings have been destroyed, according to the governor’s office.

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Trump Administration Approves Additional Requests for Fire Management Assistance Grants

Lehigh Acres, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott received a briefing at the Collier County Emergency Operations Center from local fire officials, law enforcement, the Florida Forestry Service and local emergency management officials on the ongoing wildfires in Collier, Lee and Polk Counties. Following the briefing, Governor Scott announced that the State of Florida received two Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which allow the use of federal funds to reimburse response costs to the Red Grange wildfire in Polk County and the Ann Avenue wildfire in Lee County. Governor Scott requested the FMAGs on behalf of the Florida Forest Service. Federal fire management assistance covers seventy-five percent of eligible fire response costs, including aviation assets, field camps, equipment use, tools, materials and supplies.

Governor Scott said, “We are continuing to closely monitor these wildfires and do everything we can to ensure our firefighters and first responders have all the resources they need to protect our communities. I appreciate the Trump Administration’s quick approval in fulfilling my request for additional Fire Management Assistance Grants to assist ongoing firefighting efforts in Lee and Polk Counties.

“As these wildfires continue, there are people who woke up this morning to find their homes destroyed and their lives completely changed. For those of you who have lost or damaged homes- we will be with you every step of the way. This is an incredibly heartbreaking and challenging time, and I am encouraged to see our entire state working together to help one another and keep our communities safe. We are incredibly thankful for the firefighters, first responders, and law enforcement officials from all across the state that have redirected individuals and resources to help Southwest Florida during this dangerous time. Firefighting personnel and vehicles are coming in from Miami-Dade, Broward, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, along with many other areas from across the state.

“Our firefighters are putting their own lives on the line in order to help keep our families safe, and we are praying for their safety. As we know, these fires can change at a moment’s notice due to wind and rain. It’s important that no one risks their lives or the lives of our first responders by ignoring important evacuation orders. If you are in an evacuation zone, leave immediately and do not return until the evacuation order is lifted. I will be touring wildfire damage in Lee County today and will continue to remain in close contact in local officials to make sure all their needs are being met. We will keep working together to ensure our firefighters have the resources they need to continue this fight and that our families have the support they need to stay safe and rebuild and recover.”

Bryan Koon, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said, “We at the Division are grateful for FEMA’s continued support. These additional Fire Management Assistance Grants will ensure those on the frontline are properly equipped to combat these wildfires while minimalizing damage and keeping affected individuals safe.”

UPDATE ON ONGOING WILDFIRES ACROSS THE STATE:

  • COLLIER COUNTY:
  • The Frangipani Wildfire from yesterday is 100% contained.
  • There is a 5,500-acre wildfire at 30th Avenue that has already destroyed two trailers, more than two vehicles and several outbuildings.
  • Mandatory evacuations in effect for more than 6,000 structures and a shelter is open at North Collier Regional Park.
  • POLK COUNTY:
  • There is a 700-acre wildfire in Red Grange.
  • Mandatory evacuations in effect at Indian Lake Estates. The area contains 800 residential homes. A shelter is open at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales.
  • LEE COUNTY:
  • There is a 400-acre wildfire at Ann Avenue that has already damaged or destroyed 13 homes.
  • Mandatory evacuations in effect for more than 2,000 homes and a shelter is open at Lehigh Senior High School.

We send our prayers and ask our Lord to keep everyone safe from harm. 

This is a developing story. We will keep you updated.

Sources-

FL.GOV

Florida Forest Service

CNN

Fox 13 Tampa

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