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Contact: Ardrianna McLane, 239-695-1107
Contact: Laurie Humphrey
Ochopee – Effective immediately, Big Cypress National Preserve has issued a temporary area closure to promote visitor safety during prescribed fire activity planned for July 11, 2018. The Lostmans Pace Prescribed Fire closure includes Zone 4 of the Stairsteps Unit from Paces Dike east to Lostmans Slough. All lands within these areas are closed to all recreational use, including Off-Road Vehicle (ORV), hiking, camping, and commercial activities due to safety concerns. Private property landowners with a valid special use permit may gain access along designated routes through the preserve.
The area is anticipated to reopen by press release once all prescribed fire activity has ceased and the area is safe for access. If a longer closure is required due to additional fire activity, an additional press release will be issued. Final implementation of planned prescribed fire treatments will be weather and resource dependent.
The Lostmans Pace Prescribed Fire is a growing season burn that helps to improve habitat for threatened and endangered species by mimicking a natural fire regime. Additionally, the planned prescribed fire helps to protect facilities and infrastructure by reducing the amount of debris and vegetation that fuels extreme fires. Firefighters plan to utilize this season’s recent Curlew Wildfire and prescribed fires as natural holding features to help secure the planned burn. Current water levels in the preserve help firefighters achieve low intensity and severity fire. The resulting patchwork of burned and unburned vegetation creates a mosaic of habitat that supports a diversity of wildlife.
For questions and concerns, please contact the Southwest Florida and Caribbean Interagency Fire and Aviation (SWFLCAR) Duty Officer (239)719-0241.