Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.
Everglades Reduces Hazardous Fuels and Exotic Invasives on 2,200 Acres of Wildland-Urban Interface
Eveglades National Park, Florida
National Fire Plan, Fuels Reduction*
On February 8, 2010, Everglades National Park successfully executed the 2,200-acre Heck House prescribed burn in the wildland-urban interface west of Miami. The primary purpose of the burn was to reduce the risk of a fast-moving wildfire burning from nearby neighborhoods into the park or from unplanned ignitions within the park threatening the extensive urban interface. The burn consumed dry grass and brush, as well as exotic invasive tree species, Melaleuca and Australian Pine. Both of these extraordinarily flammable species compete with native plants and require extensive herbicide before they become vulnerable to fire treatment. Prescribed fires such as this require significant advance planning and preparation.
Interagency cooperation was critical to the burn's success. Firefighters from Everglades National Park were supported by firefighters and fire engines from the following agencies:
- US Fish and Wildlife Service (Loxahatchee, Florida Panther,
and Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuges)
- Seminole Tribe of Florida
- Florida State Division of Forestry
Everglades National Park conducted extensive outreach in advance of the burn to notify neighbors. Public information signs were posted on 136th Street and 168th Street a week ahead of time. The burn was also covered by the Miami Herald.
To accomplish the burn, Everglades National Park firefighters carefully ignited around the planned perimeter, with fire engines driving alongside to prevent fire from spreading to adjacent neighborhoods. Once the perimeter was secured, firefighters then ignited the interior of the unit by dropping ping-pong ball sized incendiary devices from a helicopter. The burn lasted from about 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with a northeast wind dispersing smoke over the interior of the Everglades away from populated areas. Everglades Burn Boss Timothy Woody stated, "Conditions were exactly inside the prescription. We had the burn plan ready for over a year and when the weather conditions aligned, we had the support from our cooperators to complete the burn successfully."
Contact: Rick Anderson, Everglades Fire Management Officer
Phone: (305) 242-7853