• 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 »

Oil Pad Fire Complex

June 25, 2011 - The fires have burned a total of 10,524 acres. A transfer of command from the Southern Area Type 2 Incident Management Team Dueitt to a Type 3 organization took place Friday. Overall, containment of the fires is 95 percent. No perimeter growth took place, but pockets of heavier interior fuels continued to burn.

Crews will monitor the fires and engage them as necessary. Unless significant fire activity occurs, this will be the last media update. Effective Saturday June 25th Fire Information can be obtained through the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center: 239-695-4758.

The closure/public use limit has been lifted thus reopening the following areas, trails and access points to backcountry activity: Bear Island Campground; Bear Island Access off of Turner River Road; Walk-in Access- I-75, MM 70; Walk-in Access Bear Island Grade, off of Hwy 29; Concho Billie Trail, Burns Lake Trail, and Windmill Tram Trail. The temporary flight restriction of an eleven-mile radius from 26◦ 06’ 55” N and 81◦ 13’ 38” W, near the intersection of highway I-75 and Turner River Road has been lifted.

The annual 60-day recreational access closure remains in effect effective 12:01 a.m. Monday May 23, 2011 and will be rescinded on 12:01 Friday July 22, 2011.

Click to view a complete update here.

Click here to view a map of approximate locations of active fires. (requires Google Earth).

June 24, 2011 - The fires have burned a total of 10,524 acres. Overall, containment of the fires is 95 percent.Yesterday, no perimeter growth occurred.Pockets of heavier interior fuels continued to burn.

A transfer of command from the Southern Area Type 2 Incident Management Team Dueitt to a Type 3 organization will occur Friday. Excess personnel and equipment will continue to be released or reassigned to other fires burning throughout the South. Crews will monitor and engage fires as necessary. Effective Saturday June 25th Fire Information can be obtained through the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center: 239-695-4758.

Click to view a complete update here.

June 23, 2011 - The fires have burned a total of 10,524 acres. Overall, containment of the fires is 90 percent. Excess personnel and equipment began being released today in preparation for transition to a Type 3 organization by Friday. Many of the released resources were reassigned to other fires burning throughout the South. Focus shifted today from actively engaging the fires to patrolling and monitoring the areas to ensure no new growth. Crews will be monitoring by ground and air, and will engage as necessary.

Click to view a complete update here.

June 22, 2011 - Today, firefighters continued to keep the fires within the perimeters using low impact fire suppression tactics to protect sensitive animals, such as the Florida panther and threatened red-cockaded woodpeckers. In addition, crews were able to fully contain the Little Fire. The total number of active fires is now six.

A temporary flight restriction is in place for an 11 mile radius up to 3,000 feet. The center of the flight restriction is located at 26◦ 06’ 55” N and 81◦ 13’ 38” W, near the intersection of highway I-75 and Turner River Road.

Click to view a complete update here.

June 21, 2011 - The fires have burned a total of 10,524 acres of various Preserve habitats which include Pinelands, Sawgrass Prairie, Hardwood Hammocks, Cypress Domes and Strands. Overall containment of the fires is 70 percent. Acreage changes reported for the Kissimmee Billie and Bundschu Fires today are due to refined mapping.

Planned events for Tuesday include monitoring by air, gathering fire intelligence and continuing low impact fire suppression techniques to keep fires within their current perimeters. Firefighters will be transported by swamp buggies and, when needed, by helicopter to attack fires in remote locations. Swamp buggies are high clearance vehicles with large tires that provide access to remote areas of Big Cypress National Preserve.

Click to view a complete update here.

June 20, 2011 - The fires have burned a total of 10,510 acres of various Preserve habitats which include Pinelands, Sawgrass Prairie, Hardwood Hammocks, Cypress Domes and Strands. Overall containment of the fires is 50 percent.

In addition, a new fire, the Little Fire, was reported today a quarter mile west of the Corral Fire. Firefighters are using low impact fire suppression tactics to protect sensitive animals such as endangered Florida Panthers and threatened Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers. Although rain fell on all fires they continue to burn. No fire perimeter growth occurred on any of the previously detected fires.

Planned events for Monday include monitoring by air, gathering fire intelligence and continuing low impact fire suppression techniques to keep fires within their current perimeters. Firefighters will be transported by swamp buggies and, when needed, by helicopter to attack fires in remote locations. Swamp buggies are high clearance vehicles with large tires that provide access to remote areas of Big Cypress National Preserve.Access to Concho Billie, Windmill Tram, and Burns Lake is closed to all backcountry activity.

A 60-day recreational ORV closure throughout the preserve remains in effect. In addition, an emergency closure is in effect for the Bear Island Unit. This closure consists of the following trails and access points: Bear Island Access from Turner River Road, and Walk in Access points which includes -- Bear Island Grade from Hwy 29 and mile marker 70 along I-75.

Click to view a complete update here.

June 19, 2011 - Yesterday fire behavior was stabilized due to calmer winds during the morning and early afternoon. No fire perimeter growth occurredon any of the six fires, but interior burning continued despite afternoon rains over the fires. Lightning started one new fire on Friday and crews responded promptly. Yesterday afternoon two Type 2 hand crews arrived from out of state.

Click to view a complete update here.

June 18, 2011 - The Oil Pad Complex is comprised of several fires caused by lightning burning in Big Cypress National Preserve located in Southwest Florida. The fires have burned a total of 10,504 acres of various Preserve habitats which include Pinelands, Sawgrass Prairie, Hardwood Hammocks, Cypress Domes and Strands. Firefighters are using low impact fire suppression tactics to protect sensitive animals such as endangered Florida Panthers and threatened Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers. Yesterday fire behavior was stabilized due to low winds. On June 17th, the Preserve delegated management of the complex to the Southern Area Type 2 Incident Management team under the command of Mike Dueitt.

Planned events for Saturday include continuing low impact fire suppression techniques to keep fires within their current perimeters. When needed, firefighters will be transported by helicopter to attack fires in remote locations. More firefighters and equipment will be arriving on scene including three 20 person hand crews.

Click to view a complete update here.

June 17, 2011 - A new start - the Corral Fire - occurred on Thursday, June 16, 2011 increasing the number of active fires within the complex to five. Initial attack will continue throughout the day with ground crews and air attack. The winds are expected to be out of the south southeast at approximately 8 to 10 mph which may increase fire activity.

Due to the proximity of fire activity the Concho Billie, Windmill Tram and Burns Lake access points remain closed to all backcountry activity. The 60-day recreational ORV closure remains in effect as well. Other facilities and access that are typically operational during this time of year remain open.

At this time fire activity is not impacting roadways. However, People driving in the area of the Preserve along I-75, U.S. 41 and S. R. 29 are advised to be aware of smoke conditions, using caution when necessary.

Yesterday the Southern Area Type 2 Incident Management Team arrived to assist with daily fire operations under guidance from the Preserve management.

June 16, 2011 - Four fires continue to burn within Big Cypress National Preserve. As of yesterday the total acreage impacted by the fire is approximately 9,500, up from 4,800 the previous day The closure of the Concho Billie, Windmill Tram and Burns Lake backcountry access points and trails remains in place.

The National Park Service (NPS) is working closely with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Seminole Tribe fire resources and the Florida Division of Forestry to contain the fires. Currently there are 4 helicopters, 2 fixed wing planes, 3 buggies, 2 drum mowers and hand crews assigned to the complex. There is no estimated containment date identified as of today.

Though a heavy storm moved through the area late Wednesday afternoon, little precipitation fell in the vicinity of the fires. Numerous lightning strikes were associated with the storm, and personnel will be monitoring for new fire starts throughout the day.

A type 2 incident management team will begin the daily management of fire operations, under the guidance of Preserve management, on Friday, June 17, 2011.

June 15, 2011 - There are currently four active fires within the preserve: North, 2,800 acres; South Bundschu, 900 acres; Kissimmee Billie, 25 acres; and, Oil Pad, 1,000 acres.

Due to the proximity of the Oil Pad Fire the Concho Billie, Windmill Tram and Burns Lake access points are closed to all backcountry activity.

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.