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Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Contact: Art Wirtz, Incident PIO, 602-206-6816
The mandatory evacuation and 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 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.
No private properties have been damaged to date.
Date Started: May 4, 2007; Cause of Ignition: Lightning; Location: 23 miles N/E Everglades City; Size: 56,992 acres; Percent contained: 55%; Est. Containment: Unknown; Aircraft: 8; Handcrews: 7; Equipment: Engines 14, Dozers 2; Number of Personnel: 333; Injuries to date: None
Yesterday’s Fire Activities:
- The fire area was very inaccessible, with highly flammable fuels. Extreme drought allowed the fire to burn through areas that are normally covered by water.
- The fire’s main flame front remains approximately 4 miles east of Highway 29 (north of I-75) with only a minimal westerly progression yesterday.
- Firefighters continued to construct holding lines and conduct “mop up” operations along the consolidated northern fire boundary of both fires to prevent escape off of the Big Cypress National Preserve.
Today’s Planned Events:
- A large scale burn out operation covering 3,036 acres along the eastern boundary of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) is planned this evening to secure the western boundary of the fire front. This burn is planned in case the fire continues to advance westward and jumps Highway 29. Because of previous prescribed fires on the Refuge the fuels in the area of this evening’s prescribed burn range in age from one to three years old with only a slight accumulation of surface fuels.
- Work on the north and west sides of both fires will continue using swamp buggies, aircraft, and tracked vehicles to help with suppression efforts.
- Firefighters will continue extinguishing “hot spots” and mopping up the fire’s northern perimeter and they will continue conduct patrols along I-75 to guard against any potential escape across the interstate or impingement to either the Florida Scenic Trail or Bear Island Unit
Weather Forecast:Temperature: High 88, winds E/NE 8-10 mph with gusts of 21 mph, and a relative humidity of 40%.