Big Cypress lifts Trail Closures after Recent Wildfires Big Cypress National Preserve has lifted several temporary trail closures while other areas continue to remain closed to promote visitor safety during current wildfire activities. During preserve area closures, all recreational use, including hiking, hunting, and camping will be prohibited in the designated area.
The following closures will remain in effect:
From Nobles Grade Trail east to Addition Lands Trail, ADD 17 due to fire activity
Everything else is open with the exception of the following campgrounds that are closed as is typical during the summer season and will reopen August 15, 2017: Burns Lake, Gator Head, Pink Jeep, and Monument Lake Campgrounds.
The following areas are closed to all recreation use, including off-road vehicles (ORVs), hiking, camping and commercial activities due to safety concerns related to wildfires in the area. Closures from the Parliament Fire also still remain in place. • Pink Jeep Campground • Bear Island Campground • Gator Head Campground • The road leading into the Sanctuary except to residents • All trails between state road 29 and L-28 Canal including the Florida Trail • All public lands west of the L-28 Canal • All public lands east of state road 29 • All public lands south of the Preserve boundary • All public lands north of Alligator Alley
Closure Order 4/5/2017 Due to wildland fire activity a temporary closure order is required to maintain public safety and minimize public interference with firefighting operations and personnel. These areas are closed to all recreation use, including Off-Road Vehicles (ORV), hiking, camping, and commercial activities.
The road leading into the Sanctuary except to residences
Nobles Grade Trail north to include the Florida Trail north
All trails east of Nobles Grade to include the Blue Trail, Red Trail, and Yellow Trail
All lands west of the L28 Canal from Sanctuary Road north
All lands east of Nobles Grade
All land south of the preserve boundary and east of Nobles Grade
Private lands in the designated area shall remain open and residents should use caution.
Updates for Cowbell Fire and Additional Fires in the Preserve
The Cowbell Fire had grown to 400 acres as of Saturday night. It was discovered on March 30, 2017 two miles north of I-75 and west of the L-28 Canal Road. Due to the remote location with limited access, and multiple fires occurring in the preserve, a Type 2 incident command organization has arrived to support operations today. The Southern Area Type 2 Gold Incident Management Team will begin managing fire operations in the preserve starting Monday.
March 31, 2017:Status of wildfiresin Big Cypress National Preserve
The new 300 acre Cowbell Fire 0% contained.
The 26,371 acre Parliament Fire 75% contained.
The 25 acre Little Cypress Fire, located north of Interstate 75, 60% contained.
The 8 acre Hotline Fire, located in a remote and isolated area of the preserve, 90% are contained. These wildfires marked an early start to wildfire season in the Big Cypress area. With the likelihood of fire growth diminished, fire crews were strengthening containment lines and suppressing lingering hot spots. Fire crews on the ground worked with single engine air tankers to drop water and aid in suppression efforts on all three fires. To date there had been no injuries despite the fact that over a hundred personnel were involved in the fire suppression effort. Fire operational impacts were minimal.
Closures that were issued during these wildfires:
Monument Trail is closed from Monroe North junction, to the Concho Billie Trail
Monument Trail Bypass Trail is closed
Monument Lake Campground
Burns Lake Campground, day use area, and Burns Lake Road
Burns Lake Trail South from the campground to Windmill Tram
Burns Lake Trail North from Windmill Tram to Concho Billie Trail
Lands to the east of Turner River Rd, south of Concho Billie Trail, west of Monument Lake Trail
Lands to the north of US 41 from Burns Lake Campground to Monument Lake Campground
Skillet Strand Trail and parking areas
Windmill Tram Trail
Trails that remained open during these wildfires:
Concho Billie Trail
Private lands in the wildfire areas.
Agencies that assisted with fire suppression efforts included; the Southwest Florida and Caribbean Fire and Aviation Management Program, 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.
March 30, 2017: Cowbell Wildfire Active wildfire season has begun in Big Cypress National Preserve with a new start discovered two miles north of I-75 and west of the L-28 Canal Road. The wildfire, named the Cowbell Wildfire, was estimated at 300 acres with expected growth over the weekend. The fire burned in pineland and cypress habitat. The source of the fire was not yet known but the wildfire was not, a result of a prescribed burn.
March 24, 2017: Caution Advised on Florida Trail Due to Hotline Fire A seven acre wildfire burned in the preserve is urging caution for hikers on the Florida Trail. It was the result of a lightning strike. The fire is burned one mile west of the Florida Trail near Oak Hill Campground. The Florida Trail remained open but hikers were cautioned to enter at their own risk.
March 24, 2017: Parliament Wildfire 40% Contained The fire is estimated at 25,365 acres and is now 40% contained. Fire fighters continued to strengthen containment lines.
110 people worked on the blaze, which started on March 18. Cooperating agencies included 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.
Fire managers say the blaze was mostly 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.
March 23, 2017: Parliament Wildfire Moves toward Containment Northeast winds pushed the Parliament Fire into new areas overnight on March 22. The fire is now at 35% containment with no reported injuries or lost structures. Current data indicates that the fire is 24,338 acres.
The fire is not a result of planned prescribed fire activities. The source and origins of the fire are still under active investigation. Visitors and communities can help prevent wildfire by fully extinguishing cigarettes, reporting smoke and fire immediately, and fully extinguishing any camp fire or outdoor cooking activities.
March 23, 2017: Several closures were put in place due to the Parliament Fire
Closed due to wildfire activity were:
Monument Lake Campground
Burns Lake Campground, day use area, and Burns Lake Road
Lakes to the east of Turner River Road, south of Concho Billie Trail, west of Monument Lake Trail, extending to north of Tamiami Trial, US Highway 41
Skillet Strand Trail and parking area
Windmill Tram Trail
Burns Lake Trail north to Concho Billie Trail, and Burns Lake Trail South to Tamiami Trail, US Highway 41
Tamiami Trail, US Highway 41 was closed by Florida Highway Patrol as needed for safety. Private lands in the designated areas remained open.
March 22, 2017:Parliament Wildfire Grows – 20% Contained The Parliament Fire was estimated to be 15,389 acres and was actively managed through a multiagency Type 3 incident command organization. Containment efforts continued using established trails, natural barriers, and previously prescribed fire areas.
Fire crews conducted active fire operations to reduce fuels and contain the fire. The burnout operation was conducted along US Highway 41 from Skillet Strand Trail at mile marker 64 to Monument Lake Campground at mile marker 60. Fire operations are weather and condition dependent. Operations will be conducted when all safety precautions are met. Florida Highway Patrol likely issued a closure of US Highway 41 due to smoke. Closure was lifted when conditions permitted.
March 19, 2017: Parliament Fire - Big Cypress National Preserve Big Cypress National Preserve was notified during early evening hours of smoke from a 60-acre wildfire reported north of Burns Lake Campground on the north side of Highway 41. Named the Parliament Fire, it was estimated at 3,300 acres Sunday evening and burned 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, dispatched aviation and ground resources to the fire line. Due to the remote location and limited access, a Type 3 incident command organization was mobilized.
“Firefighters used 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.”
Visitors and commuters were warned to expect smoke along US Highway 41, Burns Lake Road, and Monument Lake Campground due to early morning fog and smoke. Closures were expected.
March 16, 2017: Greenup Wildfire Big Cypress National Preserve was notified that a small wildfire had burned from Big Cypress Seminole Reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida across preserve boundaries into the preserve’s northeastern unit.
Currently 162 total acres and 60% contained and burned in a mixture of grass, hardwood, 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, had dispatched aviation and ground resources to the fire line. Professional fire teams from the Seminole Tribe of Florida contributed staff and equipment in a cooperative effort to help with containment lines and protect important structures in the area. The fire was managed under a unified command structure with both Seminole and SWFLCAR incident commanders.
March 2017: Prescribed Burn Locations
Southwest Florida & Caribbean Fire and Aviation planned prescribed burning within selected areas of Big Cypress National Preserve. The map to the right shows areas that were being considered for prescribed burning in March. The implementation of these activities are subject to change depending on weather conditions. For questions or concerns contact SWFLCAR Duty Officer: (239) 719-0241.
TRU 2 Prescribed Burn 2/24
This burn is located near the mile marker 71 rest area on I-75.
The main objective of the Rx burn was to reduce hazardous fuels around 2 private properties.
Implementation of this unit was weather-dependent.
February 16 – 17, 2-17: Deep South Prescribed Burn w/closure
The Deep South prescribed burn area and Fire Prairie Trail was temporarily closed to all recreational use (ORV, hunting, hiking, and camping, etc.) for safety concerns related to a prescribed burn in the area.
These areas were closed: North of Upper Wagon-wheel Road, west of Turner River Road, and east of Deep Lake Strand. Turner River Road and Upper Wagon-wheel Road remained open.
February 7-10, 2017: Closure of Florida National Scenic Trail and Little Deer Unit for Prescribed Burn in Little Deer/Lost Dog Unit.
February 1-2, 2017: Deep South Prescribed Burn and Area Closure
January 25-27, 2017: Airplane Prairie Prescribed Burn The intent of this prescribed burn to protect the habitat of the Red Cockaded Woodpecker.
December 12, 2017: Otter Creek Prescribed Burn The intent of this burn was to take advantage of current water levels and go after acres that could be built upon for future treatments without major impacts to the Sanctuary community.