Fire Operations

Fire in the Everglades
Smoke column from fire in the Everglades

NPS Photo Riki Hoopes


Fire has always been a common and natural occurrence in the Everglades. Native Americans and pioneers have historically used fire for centuries. They understood that vegetation and wildlife responded to the beneficial effects of fires. Frequent lightning ignited fires have also shaped the wild landscape of south Florida. Wildfires can stimulate lush plant growth an flowering qquickly after a urn in the Everglades. Virtually all the vegetation communities in Everglades National Park are fire dependent or fire adapted.

Although fire is natural and even essential to the ecosystems of the park, wildland fire has the potential to threaten human lives and property. Fire management requires balancing the risks and benefits of fire in our wildlands.

Firefighters suppressing wildfire
Firefighters suppressing wildfire

NPS Photo

  • Some fires are suppressed
    • When life, property, or values at risk are threatened fires are suppressed. For example, wildfires that threaten public areas, major roads, endangered species, or certain cultural resources are suppressed.
  • Some fires are managed for resource benefit.
    • After careful evaluation, some fires may not be immediately suppressed if no threat is posed to life or property and the Everglades ecosystem can benefit from the fire burning in the habitat where the fire is burning. Fire staff monitor these fires and take action as needed. These fires are managed to benefit the Everglades while ensuring no life and property are harmed.
Helicopter flying above fire crew
Helicopter flying above fire crew

NPS Photo Michael Gue

Everglades National Park Division of Fire and Aviation staff are responsible for all fire activities including suppression, prescribed fire operations, fire effects, and fire ecology. Aviation staff are responsible for all of the park's flights including research, fire and resource management, law enforcement and search and rescue activities. Aircraft use occurs daily and touches nearly every employee in the park to some degree. Resources used to aid in fire management include a Type 3 Wildland Fire Engine, a Type 6 Wildland Fire Engine, and a Type 3 Helicopter.

As resources allow, fire management staff memebers are sent to assist with wildfires and prescribed fires across the nation, most often during the summer dry seasons across the western United States. Additionally, fire staff assist in a wide variety of all hazard incidents within the park and nationally, including hurricanes and flooding.

Last updated: April 3, 2020

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40001 State Road 9336
Homestead , FL 33034-6733


305 242-7700

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