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Contact: Ardrianna McLane, 770-687-4061
Ochopee – Good progress was made today on the Parliament Fire, currently burning in Big Cypress National Preserve. The fire is estimated at 25,365 acres and is now 40% contained. Fire fighters continued to add to and strengthen containment lines, and all lines held today. Fire personnel used drip torches and a helicopter to “burn out” along Monument Trail and those operations added to the total acreage. However, by burning out along the trail and removing that fuel, the likelihood of future uncontrolled growth has been diminished.
“We have had great cooperation from local and regional partners” says Jay Thatcher, one of the incident commanders, “and we could not have made the progress we’ve made without their help.” 110 people are working on the blaze, which started on March 18. Cooperating agencies include The Southwest Florida and Caribbean Fire and Aviation Management Program (SWFLCAR), the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes, Florida Division of Forestry, Greater Naples Fire Department, the US Forest Service, Collier County Sheriff Department and Florida Highway Patrol. Due to the remote location and limited access, a Type 3 incident command organization has been mobilized to manage the fire. To date, no structures have been lost and there have been no fire fighter injuries.
Fire managers say the blaze has mostly been low-intensity and has left a mosaic pattern of unburned and burned areas. This type of fire activity will have long-term benefits for the landscape and wildlife by renewing habitat and promoting ecological diversity.
Visitors and travelers should still expect to smell and see smoke along US Highway 41 and State Highway 29. In addition there is extra fire traffic in the area so please use caution if traveling through Big Cypress National Preserve.
A second small fire was located in the preserve this afternoon. Named the “Hotline Fire,” it is less than ten acres and is in a remote area. A helicopter made water drops on the fire today and it will be monitored over the weekend.
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.