Crews work to extinguish fire in Picayune Strand State Forest

Crews worked to extinguish a 6,000-acre fire Tuesday in the Picayune Strand State Forest.

The brush fire, which started as a prescribed burn on Sunday, closed US 41 between State Rd. 29 and County Rd. 92 early Tuesday morning. The road was later reopened, but a travel advisory remained in effect.

Officials with the Florida Forest Service said prescribed burns are necessary for the environment.

“These fires are really important to the state of Florida. We don’t burn they die. So, we have to burn to really preserve the ecosystem that everyone comes down here for,” said Clark Ryals, senior forester for Caloosahatchee Forestry Center.

Winds quickly picked up the flames from the controlled burn and the fire escaped.

WINK News asked officials why the controlled burn was done while winds were high to which Ryals responded, “We need that wind to actually push that fire through our block that we’re burning. Without wind, you can’t have fire.”

Officials are still working to fight the fire and at last check the fire was 60 percent contained.

MORE: Ready, set, go: Planning, preparation tips ahead of fire season

Reporter:Jessica Alpern
Writer:Emily Luft