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Contact: Ardrianna McLane, 770-687-4061Ochopee – Big Cypress National Preserve was notified during early evening hours on March 18 of smoke from a 60-acre wildfire that was reported north of Burns Lake Campground on the north side of Highway 41 in Big Cypress National Preserve.
The Parliament Fire is estimated to be 3,300 acres as of Sunday evening and is burning in a mixture of grass, pine, and cypress habitat. 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, has dispatched aviation and ground resources to the fire line. Due to the remote location and limited access, a Type 3 incident command organization has been mobilized to manage the fire.
“Firefighters are using both natural and human made barriers to contain the fire’s spread,” said Big Cypress Superintendent Tamara Whittington. Big Cypress National Preserve has one of the most active fire management programs in the National Park Service. “Fire is an essential component of the Big Cypress ecosystem. In the long term, the fire will benefit the ecosystem by renewing habitat and promoting ecological diversity.” Additional resources from county, state, and federal agencies have been requested to help establish containment lines and protect values at risk.
Visitors and commuters should expect smoke along US Highway 41, Burns Lake Road, and Monument Lake Campground due to early morning fog and smoke from the Parliament Fire. Visitors and recreational trail users should expect closures of Skillet Strand Trail and parking areas on Monday due to smoke and wildlife danger.
The Greenup Fire, which began on March 16, is currently 162 total acres and 60% contained. Mop up operations will continue until all hot spots are located. The fire is located on the boundary between Big Cypress Seminole Reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the preserve’s northeastern unit.
For additional updates and closures, please visit nps.gov/bicy for park alerts or fire updates here: https://www.nps.gov/bicy/planyourvisit/fires-2017.htm.