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

    Big Cypress

    National Preserve Florida

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  • 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 »

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    All campgrounds but Midway and the loop in the Bear Island Campground are closed through August 29. More »

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    Beginning summer of 2013, the rest area and backcountry access at Mile Marker 63 will be closed due to construction. More »

Big Cypress Fire Complex Update XIII

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Date: May 31, 2007
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Contact: Art Wirtz, Incident PIO, 602-206-6816

Yesterday’s Fire Activities

- Because of a fuel tanker rollover at the intersection of I-75 and Hwy 29, burn out operations on the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) had to be postponed to later in the day to avoid the burn out from igniting spilled fuel.

- Once the southeast corner of the Refuge which is near the fuel tanker rollover site was safe, burn out operations were initiated. This burnout was started late in the day and was continue through the evening hours.  

- Firefighters continued to work on the north and west sides of the other fires on the Big Cypress National Preserve using swamp buggies, aircraft, and tracked vehicles to help with suppression efforts.

- Many parts of the fire were inaccessible with heavy highly volatile fuels.

- No private properties have been damaged to date.


The mandatory evacuation and closure of recreational and private landowner access to the BearIsland Unit and the AdditionLands north of I-75 and west of the northerly portion of the Turner River Road remains in force. The previous closure of the Florida Scenic National Trail from US Highway 41 north to the Preserve’s northern boundary; and, a closure of the Addition Lands north and south of I-75 and east of Turner River Road to all recreational access remains in effect.

The BICY Complex consists of one major fire.  Because of continued dry and windy conditions the two previous Strickland and Midrest fires have burned together consolidating approximately 24 miles of fire line on the north side of I-75 from mile marker 52 to mile marker 76. Potential remains for rapid fire movement towards the western and northern Preserve boundaries.

Fire Facts;

Date Started: May 4, 2007; Cause of Ignition: Lightning; Location: 23 miles N/E Everglades City; Size: 59,275 acres; Percent contained: 65%; Est. Containment: Unknown; Aircraft: 5; Handcrews: 10; Equipment: Engines 14, Dozers 2; Number of Personnel: 383; Injuries to date: one

Today’s Planned Events:

- Firefighters will continue extinguishing “hot spots” and mopping up the fire’s northern perimeter and they will continue to conduct patrols along I-75 to guard against any potential escape across the interstate or the Florida Scenic Trail or Bear Island Unit.

- The fire’s western front remains approximately 4 miles east of Highway 29 (north of I-75) This front has minimal active fire but still has “hot spots and” smoldering fuels. 

- Burning operations will continue along the eastern boundary of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge west of Highway 29. This action will remove fuels and the chance of a western spread of the fire from the Big Cypress National Preserve. 

Weather Forecast:

Temperature: High 91, winds E/NE 10-14 mph with gusts of 20 mph, and a relative humidity of 43%.


Did You Know?

Airboat traveling through wet prairies.

Airboats are one of the approved ways to access remote areas of Big Cypress National Preserve. Remember, all off-road vehicle access requires a valid permit, and visitors operating ORVs need to know the legal areas they can operate.