Annual 60-Day ORV Closure for Wheeled Vehicles
Beginning at 12:01 am Monday, June 2, the annual 60-day recreational ORV closure for all units of the Preserve that allow for wheeled ORV access will begin. The closure will be lifted on Friday, August 1. More »
Secondary Trail Closure
Effective 8/1/2014, following the 60-day recreational ORV closure, only the designated primary trails in the backcountry will be open to recreational ORV use and access. All secondary trails will remain closed on an interim basis for an additional 60-days More »
All campgrounds but Midway and the loop in the Bear Island Campground are closed through August 29. More »
Interstate 75 Mile Marker 63 Closure
Beginning summer of 2013, the rest area and backcountry access at Mile Marker 63 will be closed due to construction. More »
2009 Deep Fire Related Activity
May 12, 2009 Deep Fire Update - The Deep Fire was declared fully contained as of Saturday, May 9th at 6:30 p.m. The National Park Service designated the fire as Controlled at 9:00 p.m. on Monday, May 11th. There will still be hot areas inside and along the periphery of hardwood hammocks and dense stands of hardwoods/cypress.
Controlled means that there is a complete fireline around the perimeter and all hot spots are cooled down that are an immediate threat to the control line. There is still active burning within the fire perimeters but the likelihood of the fire moving outside of the control line is greatly reduced.
Yesterday, localized rains aided in continuing to cool fire activity within the fire lines. With the new status of the fire conditions closures in the proximity of the fire have changed. Effective 12:00 noon on May 12, 2009 the Deep Lake Unit North of and including the Fire Prairie Trail are reopened for public recreational use. Bear Island Unit including Bear Island Campground remains temporarily closed to recreational use until further notice.
May 8, 2009 Deep Fire Update - To-date the fire has burned a total of 30,005 acres with 95% containment. Smoke from the fire is negligible. Firefighter activity is focused on patrol of the fire perimeter. Current weather patterns have created heavy fog. Due to this weather pattern the Florida Highway Patrol and the Collier County Sheriff's Office may implement roadway closures along portions of Interstate 75 and State Road 29 during early morning hours.
Recreational access closures remain in place for the Bear Island Unit and the northern portion of the Deep Lake Unit within Big Cypress National Preserve until further notice.
Future updates on fire activity will occur only when situational changes occur.
May 4, 2009 Deep Fire Update -Fire crews continue to monitor and hold the Deep Fire within the containment area. Mop-up activities are underway to identify and minimize hotspots within the area, with the main goal of reducing excessive smoke.
Due to recent weather patterns early morning fog mixed with smoke may greatly reduce visibility for motorists. The Florida Highway Patrol and the Collier County Sheriffs Office may take actions to temporarily close Interstate 75 and State Road 29 depending upon conditions. Travelers are encouraged to stay in touch with news reports for latest details on road advisories.
Within the Preserve, the Deep Lake Unit north of Fire Prairie Trail, including the trail itself, and the Bear Island Unit remain closed to all recreational access.
May 2, 2009 Deep Fire Update - Fire Size: 30,005, Containment: 90% - Firefighters patrolled and mopped up the Deep Fire throughout the day. Efforts were concentrated on those areas on the north end of the fire where the burnout occurred. State Highway 29 was opened to general traffic yesterday from I-75 north to Oil Well Road. Law enforcement officers will patrol the road heavily to ensure that motorists maintain a safe speed and to assist fire equipment operating in the area. There could be short term temporary closures due to smoke and fog over the next few days as some interior burning continues to occur. This will be the last update from the Southern Blue Team on the Deep Fire.
Weather forecast calls for generally easterly winds with predicted high temperature in the upper 80’s. Crews will continue work to secure all fire lines, mop up the interior and watch for spot fires. The Southern Blue Team will continue to transition management of the fire to a local Incident Management Team. The transition of command will take place on Saturday May 2, 2009 at 6:00 pm with the Blue Team demobilizing most of the firefighters by tonight. The remaining Blue Team members will demobilize tomorrow.
Area and Road Closures All highways closed as a result of the Deep Fire have been reopened to all traffic. Motorists should drive defensively as fire equipment will be entering and exiting the highways at unexpected locations. Law enforcement will patrol SH 29 heavily to help prevent accidents and assist motorists and fire personnel. In the interest of safety, Big Cypress National Preserve has enacted some recreational access closures. These are necessary to ensure the safety of visitors and fire personnel. All areas in the Bear Island Unit and all areas north of Fire Prairie Trail, including the trail itself, in the Deep Lake Unit are closed.
May 1, 2009 Deep Fire Morning Update - NOTE: THERE WILL NOT BE AN AFTERNOON UPDATE TODAY. TOMORROWS MORNING UPDATE WILL BE THE LAST UPDATE POSTED BY THE SOUTHERN BLUE TEAM.
30,005 acres, 85% contained
Firefighters completed burning the northeast section of the fire along Bear Island Grade last night. Winds became favorable in the mid-afternoon allowing the firefighters to finish this important section of the line. State Highway 29 was opened to general traffic this morning from I-75 north to Oil Well Road. Law enforcement officers will patrol the road heavily to ensure that motorists maintain a safe speed and to assist fire equipment operating in the area. There will be no afternoon update today. The morning update tomorrow will be the last produced by the Southern Blue Team for this fire.
AREA AND ROAD CLOSURES
April 30, 2009 Deep Fire Evening Update - Firefighters resumed burning the northeast section of the fire along Bear Island Grade today. Winds continued to plague this operation, forcing firefighters to stop burning during the middle of the day. Late in the afternoon they were able to resume and are expected to complete the operation by the end of shift today. State Highway 29 north of I-75 will remain closed tonight but will open Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. contingent upon smoke conditions. Law enforcement officers will patrol the road heavily to ensure that motorists maintain a safe speed and to assist fire equipment operating in the area.
April 30, 2009 Deep Fire Morning Update -
April 29, 2009 Deep Fire Evening Update - Firefighters burned out line on the northeast section of the fire along Bear Island Grade. An unexpected wind shift prevented the completion of this burn. One small spot fire was discovered and suppressed west of SR 29 near the north end of the fire. Tentative plans to open SR 29 north of the interstate were pushed back a day, due to the unpredicted localized southeast winds. Those plans will be reevaluated Thursday after the burnout is completed.
April 29, 2009 Deep Fire Morning Update - Weather forecast calls for generally easterly winds with predicted high temperature around 90 degrees. Crews will continue work today to secure all fire lines, mop up the interior and watch for spot fires. A burnout will be conducted on the north end of the fire to secure line south of Bear Island Grade. I-75 was opened this morning at 8:00 am and should remain open unless unexpected smoke conditions require additional short term closures. SH 29 opened this morning from US 41 to I-75 with warning signs and a reduced speed limit. SH 29 will remain closed north of I-75 to Oil Well Road.
April 28, 2009 Deep Fire Evening Update -Firefighters worked to hold the burnouts that were conducted yesterday and continued to mop up the hot spots near the containment lines. The fire is in good shape with few areas of major concern, based on predicted weather. However firefighters must continue to make the perimeter secure and work toward control of this fire. Today’s activities concentrated on the southeast section of the fire where smoke columns were visible. All these were well inside the containment lines. The fire size is 27,000 acres and is 60% contained.
Tomorrow - Weather forecast calls for persistent east-southeast winds with predicted high temperature around 90 degrees. Crews will continue work Wednesday to secure all fire lines and mop up the interior. A burnout will be conducted on the north end of the fire to secure line south of Bear Island Grade. The incident management team has recommended that I-75 be opened at 8:00 a.m. and remain open unless unexpected smoke conditions require additional short term closures. SH 29 will open tomorrow morning from US 41 to I-75 with warning signs and a reduced speed limit. It will remain closed north of I-75 to Oil Well Road.
Area and Road Closures - In the interest of safety, Big Cypress National Preserve has enacted some recreational access closures. These are necessary to ensure the safety of visitors and fire personnel. All areas in the Bear Island Unit, and all areas north of Fire Prairie Trail, including the trail itself, in the Deep Lake Unit are closed. I-75 and SH 29 south of I-75 to US 41 will open at 8:00 AM Wednesday with a reduced speed limit. Both these highways will remain open unless smoke conditions force closure again, however all motorists are encouraged to exercise caution when driving through these areas. SH 29 will remain closed north of I-75 to Oil Well Road.
April 27, 2009 Deep Fire Morning Update
Weather forecasts call for dry conditions, continued east winds, and high temperatures. These conditions remain conducive for high fire activity. Crews will continue burnout operations as a suppression strategy, while monitoring for and extinguishing spot fires. Because these operations are expected to impact visibility, both Interstate 75 will remain closed until at least mid-day on Tuesday, and will reopen pending more favorable conditions. State Road 29 will remain closed until further notice.
In the interest of safety, Big Cypress National Preserve has enacted some recreational access closures. These are necessary to ensure the safety of both visitors and fire personnel. Currently, all areas in the Bear Island Unit, and all areas north of Fire Prairie Trail, including the trail itself, in the Deep Lake Unit are closed. In the interest of both public and employee safety, Interstate will remain closed in the interest of motorist and employee safety and reopen once more favorable conditions return. State Road 29 will remain closed until further notice.
April 26, 2009 Deep Fire Evening Update -Weather today allowed fire crews to conduct burnout operations, as they continue to suppress the Deep Fire. The burnout put up a considerable amount of smoke, but was a very successful suppression tactic as crews work to keep the fire east of State Highway 29. The Deep Fire has burned approximately 22,000 acres since April 22nd and is 20% contained. The Southern Area Incident Management Blue Team began managing the fire this morning.
April 26, 2009 Deep Fire Morning Update -As of today the Deep Fire has burned approximately 15,100 acres within Big Cypress National Preserve. Burnout operations were successful on Saturday and for the first day of the incident there were no significant spot fires. The National Park Service transferred day-to-day management of the fire to the Southern Area Interagency Management Blue Team today. Florida Highway Patrol estimates they will reopen Interstate75 at or around 9:00 a.m. today and if fire conditions allow it will remain open through 7:00 p.m. State Road 29 is closed. This pattern of roadway closures is expected as long as conditions continue.
April 25, 2009 Deep Fire Evening Update - The total estimated extent of the area effected by the fire is estimated at 16,000 acres. Containment remains at an estimated 20%. Crews continue to deal with strong east winds and spot fires. Florida Highway Patrol did open Interstate 75 as of around 12 noon today and closed the road once again at 7:00 p.m. in anticipation of cooler temperatures and decreasing visibility. FHP anticipates that if conditions continue that the roadway may be open once again tomorrow. Additional firefighting resources are due to arrive over the next few days to aid with spotting fires and containment efforts.
April 25, 2009 Recreational Access Closure Extension - Due to fire activities related to the Deep Fire the recreational access closure in Big Cypress National Preserve has been extended to include the northern area of the Deep Lake Unit. The closure now includes all areas north of, and including the Fire Prairie Trail. The Bear Island area remains closed as well.
April 25, 2009 Morning Update - The Deep Fire continued to burn overnight in the Big Cypress National Preserve, affecting an estimated 12,500 acres. The fire is currently burning in a mixture of prairie and forest habitats, and no structures or facilities have been impacted. At present, the fire remains 20% contained. An interagency team consisting of federal, state and municipal personnel will continue efforts today to safely contain the fire within the preserve and minimize smoke impacts to travel corridors and nearby local communities.
The Florida Highway Patrol is expected to open Interstate 75 to vehicular traffic at or before 12:00 noon, pending favorable conditions. The road is expected to remain open until 7:00 p.m., when anticipated weather effects will make driving conditions hazardous and again require an overnight closure of the roadway. State Road 29 is expected to remain closed to access as fire operations continue. The closures are necessary to ensure the safety of both motorists and fire personnel.
In light of predicted weather patterns, communities along the southwest coast may continue to experience heavy smoke and ash. Residents should be aware, however, that the fire is not expected to approach or threaten nearby urban areas.
April 24, 2009 Evening Update **Correction** - Fire fighters continue to work spot fires west of State Road 29 utilizing a variety of suppression techniques, including aerial water drops and heavy equipment. Fire crews will stay on through midnight to continue suppression, containment and monitoring as needed.
4/24 area detail map
April 24, 2009 Evening Update - The fire is currently estimated between 9,500 and 10,000 acres with an estimated 20% containment. Focus today has been on identifying and extinguishing spot fires that have occurred west of State Road 29 that were caused by strong east to west winds gusting up to 20 mph. All spot fires have been extinguished and the fire continues to be contained east of State Road 29.
Poor smoke dispersion is anticipated throughout the day which will require the continued closure of Interstate 74 from Mile Marker 101 in Collier County to State Road 27 in Broward County, and State Road 29 from U.S. 41 north to Oil Well Road. Travelers are encouraged to be patient, drive carefully and add additional travel time along alternative routes. This closure is anticipated to go into Saturday and perhaps through the entire weekend.
All previously announced closures remain in place within the Preserve.
April 24, 2009, Deep Fire 0700 Update - As of 0700 this morning the estimated extent of burned area associated with the Deep Fire within Big Cypress National Preserve is 8,500 acres. Crews are in the field today with the main objective of dousing any spot fires that occur west of State Road 29 and continuing to create fire break around the perimeter of the fire. Currently containment is at 20 - 30%
Poor smoke dispersion is anticipated throughout the day which will require the continued closure of Interstate 74 and State Road 29. Travelers are encouraged to be patient, drive carefully and add additional travel time along alternative routes.
The fire continues to burn east of State Road 29 only. Residents in the Naples area may experience smoke effects in the early morning hours due to prevailing winds.
Closures to recreation access within the Bear Island Unit remain in place until further notice.
Additional up-dates will be posted at approximately 11:00, 4:00 and 7:00.
April 23, 2009, Deep Fire 1900 Update - As of 1900 (7:00 p.m.) the Deep Fire has burned approximately 7,600 acres within the Bear Island and Deep Lake Units of Big Cypress National Preserve. The fire has two segments one north of Interstate 75 and one south. Both segments are east of State Road 29 within Collier County. Both segments are approximately equal in size (3,800 acres each). The National Park Service (NPS) reports that the fire is approximately 20 - 30% contained, with full containment anticipated by Monday.
The Bear Island Unit of the Preserve continues to be closed for all recreational access. No homes, backcountry camps or other structures are at risk due to the fire.
Smoke continues to be an issue and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP)has closed Interstate 75 between mile markers 101 in Collier County and mile marker 29 in Broward County. State Road 29 remains closed from U.S. 41 north to Oil Well Road. The FHP will evaluate conditions early tomorrow morning to determine if the roadways will be reopened.
Approximately 80 - 100 fire personnel are working the fire, the NPS is working cooperatively with several agencies to control the fire. Agencies include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida State Division of Forestry and Division of Environmental Protection, the Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes, Florida Highway Patrol, Collier County Sheriffs Office and Emergency Operations Center, Ochopee and Port of the Islands Fire Districts and the American Red Cross.
More support is being requested and are anticipated to arrive within the next few days.
The primary concerns remain the safety of fire fighters and travelers within the area and to ensure that the fire does not spot to the west of State Road 29.
April 23, 2009, 11:00 a.m. - Due to fire activity related to the Deep Fire within the Bear Island Unit of Big Cypress National Preserve, the National Park Service is closing the unit to all recreational access and camping. This closure is temporary due to the emergency nature of the fire conditions and will be rescinded or modified as appropriate.
The Florida Highway Patrol continues to have road closures in place related to State Road 29 and Interestate 75. With increased temperatures throughout the day portions of the road may reopen pending visibility. As temperatures decrease in the evening continued closures are likely.
April 23, 2009 - The "Deep Fire" continues to burn in the Bear Island Unit of the Preserve. Spotting to the south of I-75, in the Deep Lake Unit, occurred due to high winds in the evening hours. as of 0700 hours today it was estimated that the fire has burned more than 3,000 acres.
Low temperatures in the evening hours caused for poor smoke dispersion, requiring the Florida Highway Patrol to close I-75 between County Road 951 and State Road 27. State Road 29 is also closed north of U.S. 41 this morning. As temperatures rise through the day smoke dispersion should improve and roadways may reopen.
Due to the fire all campground facilities within the Bear Island Unit are closed until further notice. No houses or camps are at risk at this time.
Fire crews will be closely monitoring activity north of I-75 and actively suppressing spot fires south of I-75. Currently Big Cypress fire crews are being assisted by crews from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Everglades National Park.
April 22, 2009 - The Big Cypress National Preserve Fire Management Office reports that there is an approximate 1000 acre fire burning in the East Hinson Marsh area of the Preserve. The fire is located north of Interstate 75, east of State Road 29 and west of Turner River Road. The Preserve's fire crews are monitoring the fire activity closely considering the red flag fire conditions that the region is currently under. No homes or camps are within the vicinity of the fire activity. Smoke may impact visibility along stretches of I-75, east of State Road 29. At this time no facilities within the Preserve are closed due to the fire activity.
The fire is believed to have begun by lightning associated with a storm that passed through the area on early Tuesday morning.
Did You Know?
Mermaid sightings have been reported by sailors throughout history who often blamed the part-woman, part-fish beings for leading them astray. But folklore experts believe that what those sailors were seeing were not mermaids, but rather air-breathing manatees, or their dugong relatives. More...