A fire that burned for hours in a grassy area next to Southwest Florida International Airport Friday has been contained

A fire that burned for hours in a grassy area next to Southwest Florida International Airport Friday has been contained.


The airport is fully functional and the inbound lanes of Terminal Access Road reopened at 11 p.m. Friday, according to Vicki Moreland, communications director for the airport.


The fire was in an area where extra rental cars are parked and were not occupied. Witnesses saw and heard multiple small explosions, flames jumping high in the air and showers of sparks.


There were 3,516 cars destroyed or damaged by the fire and 3,850 remained undamaged, Moreland said.


The cause of the fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal, she said.


Saturday morning, the Forest Service returned to the scene to make sure the fire did not pick back up last night or this morning, according to Melinda Avni, Forest Service mitigation specialist.


About 8 p.m. Friday, the fire appeared to be spreading and the flames getting higher even as two helicopters continued dropping water and firetrucks emptied their tanks.


There was a county-wide response to this fire which included: the Airport Fire Department, South Trail Fire Department, Lehigh Acres Fire Department, Estero Fire Department, San Carlos Fire Department, Bayshore Fire Department, City of Fort Myers Fire Department, Fort Myers Beach Fire Department, Bonita Springs Fire Department, Sanibel Fire Department and Iona-McGregor Fire Department.