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Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Contact: Art Wirtz, Incident PIO, 602-206-6816
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 damaged due to fire, 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.
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).
Burning operations were initiated on the east side of Florida Panther National Wildlife reserve west of Highway 29.This action was to reduce fuels and the chance of fire spreading to the west from the Big Cypress National Preserve.
Date Started: May 4, 2007; Cause of Ignition: Lightning; Location: 23 miles N/E Everglades City; Size: 58,258 acres; Percent contained: 60%; Est. Containment: Unknown; Aircraft: 5; Handcrews: 10; Equipment: Engines 14, Dozers 2; Number of Personnel: 393; Injuries to date: one
Today’s Planned Events:
- Continue the burn out operation covering 3,036 acres along the eastern boundary of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) to secure the western boundary of the fire front. Previous prescribed fires on the Refuge have reduced significantly the fuels in the area with only a slight accumulation of surface fuels in the last three years.
- 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 to conduct patrols along I-75 to guard against any potential escape across the interstate or the Florida Scenic Trail or Bear Island Unit
Temperature: High 91, winds E/NE 10-14 mph with gusts of 20 mph, and a relative humidity of 43%.