Big Cypress Fire Complex Update VIII
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Contact: Chris Worth, 715-209-0095
The Preserve Superintendent has issued an immediate, mandatory evacuation and full closure of recreational and private landowner access to the Bear Island Unit and the Addition Lands north of I-75 and west of the northerly portion of the Turner River Road. 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 affect.
Yesterday’s Fire Activities:
- Severe drought, readily receptive fuels, and strong winds greatly contributed to significant fire activity causing control problems. On both yesterday and May 22, the Midrest Fire made significant runs to the west, aggressively burning through all fuel types. This fire’s main flame front is now approximately 4 miles east of Highway 29 (north of I-75). In addition, the western flank of the Strickland Fire continues to spread in both a western and northern direction.
- Due to the potential for the Midrest Fire to possibly cross Highway 29, a meeting was held with representatives from the Division of Forestry, the Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge, Big Cypress National Preserve, and the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team to discuss suppression strategies.
- Firefighters continued to construct holding lines along the Midrest Fire’s northerly flanks to retard its movement. Additionally, aircraft assaulted the fires’ advance, dropping water on a significant portion of the north and west boundaries of the fires’ perimeter. Fire crews persisted with mop up operations on other portions of the fires.
Date Started: May 4, 2007; Cause of Ignition: Lightning; Location: north & east of Everglades City; Size: 40,000 acres; Percent contained: 50%; Est. Containment: Unknown; Aircraft: 4; Handcrews: 4; Equipment: Engines 5, Dozers 2; Number of Personnel: 217; Injuries to date: None
The BICY Complex is currently made up of two major fires:
The Strickland Fire, located north of I-75 and, west of Levee 28 Interceptor Canal has grown to about 23,000 acres. The Midrest Fire, situated north of I-75 and west of the Strickland Fire is estimated at 13,900 acres.
Today’s Planned Events:
- Firefighters will continue flanking maneuvers on portions of the Midrest Fire and use direct attack, where feasible. Fireline supervisors will scout out other control opportunities (e.g. burnout), basing their decisions upon weather, fuels, and safety considerations. On the Strickland Fire, firefighters will continue extinguishing “hot spots” and mopping up the Strickland Fire’s north and east perimeters.
- With the continued drying conditions and projected winds, firefighters will conduct patrol activities on both the Strickland and Midrest fires along I-75 to guard against any potential escape across the interstate or impingement to either the Florida Scenic Trail or Bear Island Unit
Temperature: High 92, winds E/NE 8-10 mph with gusts 15-18 mph, with a relative humidity of 38%.