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Florida evacuation orders lifted as rain quells wildfires
April 24, 2017 / 3:24 AM / 8 months ago

Florida evacuation orders lifted as rain quells wildfires

(Reuters) - Florida officials on Sunday lifted evacuation orders for about 2,000 homes threatened by wildfires in drought-stricken central and southwestern parts of the state, after rainfall helped firefighters battle the blazes.

As of Sunday morning, a 5,500-acre wildfire in Collier County in southwest Florida that has destroyed nine homes was 50 percent contained, according to officials.

In Polk County in central Florida, a wildfire that charred 700 acres was 75 percent contained. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office on Saturday had said that fire was being investigated as suspicious.

Governor Rick Scott, who declared a state of emergency on April 11, said in a statement on Sunday that the rain had been a blessing.

“While we are hopeful that the weather will continue to provide relief, we know these fires can change at a moment’s notice due to wind and rain, and it is important that we remain alert and prepared,” he said.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by David Gregorio

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