• The Florida panther's steely gaze - NPS/RALPH ARWOOD

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • Secondary Trail Closure

    As part of a settlement agreement with plaintiffs related to the designation of secondary off-road vehicle trails, all secondary off-road vehicle trails are closed until further environmental review and analysis can be completed. More »

  • October Off-Road Vehicle Advisory Committee Meeting Cancelled

    The National Park Service at Big Cypress National Preserve has cancelled the off-road Vehicle Advisory Committee meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday, October 7. More »

Fire Regime

Fire in pine stand
Fire in a pine stand
COURTESY/CHRISTOPHER DERMAN
 

Wildfire as a Natural Process

Wildfire is one of the most powerful and creative natural processes on our planet. For thousands of years, this force has been shaping the environment on a large and widespread scale. Plants and animals have evolved with, and many depend on, the role fire plays in creating a diversity of habitats.

In the past, natural fires swept through plant communities at intervals that provided conditions for many plant species to regenerate. Wildfire thins competing species, recycles nutrients into the soil and opens holes in the forest canopy for sunlight to enter. All of these are critical to forest health and natural cycles of growth and decomposition. Wildfires also benefit many animal species. With the increased forage that results after a fire, many animals low on the food chain experience increases in their populations; therefore species above them on the food chain also benefit.

Despite the evidence that fire is a necessary element in many forest ecosystems, over most of the past century people have feared and suppressed it whenever possible. The accumulation of dead and downed fuels during that time now presents extreme hazards to the health of the trees, soil, wildlife, to humans living in these areas, and to the taxpayer who has to fund the fighting of catastrophic wildfires.

Click here for more information about fire management at Big Cypress National Preserve.

Did You Know?

GeraldFord_Large

Before Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States designated Big Cypress as the country's first national preserve, in 1974, he worked as a National Park Ranger at Yellowstone National Park, in 1936. He was the only US President to have worked for the National Park Service.