Rainfall holding Big Cypress wildfires in check

Lee Herald Favicon 16Heavy showers helped to hold the spread of ongoing wildfires in Big Cypress Preserve to just under 82,500 acres over the weekend.

A set of five fires have been burning in national park, earning the name the Avian Complex and collectively consuming 82,461 acres over the last few weeks. According to park officials, 181 personnel, three helicopters, and five engines have been fighting the blazes.

The largest fire, dubbed the Buzzard Fire, is 62,404 acres in size and sits at eight percent containment. The Flamingo Fire is the second largest at 11,689 acres and is currently five percent contained. The Curlew Fire has consumed 8,366 acres and is 15 percent contained. Both the Vulture and Caracara fires are one acre in size and are now 100 percent contained. The entire complex of fires is considered to be at 35 percent containment.

A rainy weekend helped to stop what had been a steady expansion of the fires and is expected to limit further activity.

“Containment remained at 35 percent Saturday. Activity was minimal with some smoke showing in different locations on the Buzzard Fire. Heavy precipitation fell throughout the day,” said officials in a report released Sunday. “Crews will continue to monitor for any new fire activity. Little activity is expected after several days of precipitation.”

Widespread showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected for the next few days.

Despite improving conditions, the following closures remain unchanged:

-Dona Drive is closed to all public access.
-Stairsteps: All lands in Zone 3 Zone 4 is closed to all public access by airboat
-Paces Dike Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs)
-Roberts Lake Trail south from Loop Road
-Lands east of Turner River Rd., west of BICY’s eastern boundary and north of Hwy. 41
-The Florida National Scenic Trail is closed from the Oasis Visitor Center to I-75 mile marker 63.
-All BICY lands north of I-75 between Hwy. 29 and Bundschu Grade

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