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

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • 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 »

  • 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 »

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?

A great white heron scratches its neck. Notice the color of the legs.

The great white heron is very similar to the great white egret. However, look closely and you will see that the heron has yellow legs, while the egret has black legs. The great white heron is found only in south Florida in the United States. It can also be found on several caribbean islands.