A wildfire burning in Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida has spread to more than 3,000 acres and was prompting some closures in the park.
Big Cypress officials said smoke from a 60-acre wildfire north of the Burns Lake Campground in the preserve was spotted Saturday evening. Within 24 hours the blaze had erupted to an estimated 3,300 acres and was burning in a mixture of grass, pine, and cypress habitat. Visitors and commuters were told to expect smoke along US Highway 41, Burns Lake Road, and Monument Lake Campground due to early morning fog and smoke from the so-called Parliament Fire. Visitors and recreational trail users also should expect closures of Skillet Strand Trail and parking areas on Monday due to smoke and wildlife danger.
The Southwest Florida and Caribbean Fire and Aviation Management Program, a cooperative program between Big Cypress National Preserve and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 4, District 6, has dispatched aviation and ground resources to the fire line. Due to the remote location and limited access, a Type 3 incident command organization has been mobilized to manage the fire.
Additional resources from county, state, and federal agencies have been requested to help establish containment lines and protect values at risk.
“Firefighters are using both natural and human made barriers to contain the fire’s spread,” said Big Cypress Superintendent Tamara Whittington. “Fire is an essential component of the Big Cypress ecosystem. In the long term, the fire will benefit the ecosystem by renewing habitat and promoting ecological diversity.”