‘Avian Complex’ fire burns at 82K acres in Collier preserve

The Avian Complex fire has burned more than 82,000 acres as of Monday morning in the Big Cypress National Preserve, according to the National Parks Service.

Despite growing in size, the fires are slowing due to rainfall from Sunday night and Monday morning.

Jacob Daffin, an airboat caption in Ochopee, near where the Avian Complex has been burning for the last few days.

“Tell you what it was so bad there for a couple days that we actually couldn’t see our big flag we have here,” Daffin said.

Daffin said he thinks the rain has provided more pleasant conditions.

“It’s a lot nicer it’s not as smokey and you can see and you can breathe,” Daffin said.

MORE: 1 firefighter injured battling massive Collier fire; smoke advisories issued

Punky Moore, of the National Parks Service, said the rain has helped reduce the smoke and keep the fire from spreading.

“It definitely dampens the vegetation and it’s too wet for the fire to spread so that’s why things have slowed down to this point,” Moore said.

Moore said crews monitored and patrolled instead of fighting on the fire lines because “the roads that we’re travelling on and they get muddy and slippery.”

The rain provided a temporary relief, but Moore added it won’t erase the drought and there is a possibility of seeing smoke.

Fires cause area wildlife to either take cover or move around so residents should be on the lookout for bears and snakes, according to fire officials.

The Flamingo and Buzzard Fires are spreading southwest. However, the fires in the complex are inactive due to heavy rain from Sunday night and Monday morning, according to officials at the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The brush fires are still 5 percent contained and has scorched 82,461 acres, equivalent to more than 120 square miles, according to the National Parks Service.

There 338 resources on scene, according to the National Parks Service, and crews from across the nation are working to extinguish the flames of the fire.

MORE: ‘Avian Complex’ fire grows to 81K acres in Collier preserve

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
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