MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Firefighters from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Miami Fire Rescue, Coral Gables Fire, and Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue are helping the Florida Forest Service battle raging brush fires in Collier County.

The two biggest brush fires, near the western edge of the Florida Everglades, merged into a single blaze Thursday, which has now burned 8,000 acres. It is only 10% contained as of late Thursday afternoon, according to the Florida Forest Service.

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Fires are also burning on the north and south sides of I-75, known as Alligator Alley.


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The toll road, from mile marker 80 to 101 was closed for nearly 20 hours after smoke caused visibility issues but it reopened Thursday afternoon. Motorists are still being advised to proceed with caution.

One of the fires threatened about 30 homes in the Collier County area of Golden Gate Estates, according to the Florida Forestry Service. The fires have led to voluntary and mandatory evacuations and some structures have been damaged or destroyed.

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There are brush fires also burning in three other counties including Lee County, Charlotte County and Hendry County.