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Contact: Ardrianna McLane, 239-695-1107
Ochopee – Big Cypress National Preserve has issued a temporary trail closure to promote visitor safety during prescribed fire activity. During the closure, all recreational use, including hiking, hunting, and camping will be prohibited in the designated area.
The temporary closure will take effect immediately. 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.
Currently, the Bluebird/Big Blue Prescribed Fire closure issued earlier remains in effect and will be rescinded by press release as soon as the area being burned today is deemed safe to access.
The closure includes Florida National and Scenic Trail inside of Big Cypress National Preserve from 7-Mile Camp north to I-75. The burn area is known as “Lost Dog” and is located north of Rock Road, east of Oasis Trail, south of lands just north of Raccoon Trail, and west of West Raccoon Trail. Lost Dog Trail will be closed from Oasis Trail East to the intersection at West Raccoon. Raccoon Trail will be closed from the intersection of Buckskin Trail east to the intersection with North Raccoon Trail. All lands within the burn area are also closed to all recreational use, including Off-Road Vehicle, hiking, camping, and commercial activities due to safety concerns. The burn area is located entirely within Big Cypress National Preserve. Please see the attached map for additional detail and the location.
Signs will be also posted in the area and the area will be reopened by press release.
Private lands in the designated area will remain open. Residents should use caution and notify the Fire Duty Officer of entry by calling (239) 719-0241.
“Prescribed fire is a carefully planned fire that uses fire science and specific environmental conditions to meet management goals for the preserve. This prescribed fire, along with this week’s work from the Bluebird/Big Blue Prescribed Fire, is reducing the buildup of hazardous fuels along the Florida Trail,” said Big Cypress Superintendent Tamara Whittington. “A controlled burn, or prescribed fire, is one of our best tools to help create a mosaic of diverse habitats, manage for our endangered species, and reduce the threat of a destructive fire.”
The prescribed fire activity is managed by the Southwest Florida and Caribbean Fire and Aviation Management Program (SWFLCAR), a cooperative program between Big Cypress National Preserve and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Region 4, District 6. Questions about the fire may be directed to the contact above or the SWFLCAR Duty Officer, available any time, 239-719-0241. Media questions should be directed to Public Information Officer, Ardrianna McLane, 239-695-1107.