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Officials: Southwest Florida brush fires destroyed 12 homes

This screengrab from a video posted by the Collier County Sheriff's Office shows brush fires that have spread in southwestern Florida.
This screengrab from a video posted by the Collier County Sheriff's Office shows brush fires that have spread in southwestern Florida. (Collier County Sheriff's Office)

NAPLES, Fla. – A large brush fire in southwest Florida has destroyed 12 homes and damaged 33 others, officials said during a Monday news conference with the agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried.

The 8,000-acre fire in Collier County is about 50% contained, officials said.

The Florida Forest Service said Sunday that 146 firefighters were working to contain the fire, which started last week as four smaller brush fires that merged together.

Fried reminded residents in Florida to remain vigilant since the state is at the height of fire season. She also said that people in areas where the wildfires are burning should have a bag filled with important documents ready in case evacuation orders are issued.

Anyone living in a zone that has been ordered to evacuate should leave as soon as possible to avoid having firefighters stop what they are doing to make a rescue, Fried said.

“If you think you are going to defend your house with a garden hose, you are gravely mistaken," she said. “Be vigilant, be smart and make sure you are protecting yourself."