USA – 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 Administrations 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 moments notice due to wind and rain. Its 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 FEMAs 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.
INSURANCE INFORMATION: It is important for individuals with damaged homes or property to begin with documenting all damaged property and belongings. A free smartphone app developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners called MyHome Scr.APP.book is available to assist with photo documentation. For help finding your Floridas property insurance companys website and contact information, click HERE. For a list of licensed insurance agents in Florida, click HERE. Additional consumer resources are available HERE. To contact the Office of Insurance Regulation with reports of fraud or suspicious activity, call the Office of Insurance Regulation at: 850-413-5916 or the Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236.
IMPORTANT WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS: For updates on current evacuation orders and available shelters: Collier County: colliergov.net Lee County: leegov.com/publicsafety Polk County: polk-county.net/boccsite/our-community/emergency-shelters Visit FreshFromFlorida.com and learn more about how to protect your home from wildfire and ensure you live in a Firewise Community. Make sure to clean-up yard debris around your home and check with local officials before burning. For more information about the wildfire safety and response, visit Floridadisaster.org or follow the Division on Twitter at @FLSERT and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.