‘Cowbell’ fire 65 percent contained

IMMOKALEE, Fla. A massive brush fire continues to burn in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The blaze, known as the “Cowbell Fire,” has scorched approximately 21,620 acres and is 65 percent contained, the National Park Service said.

No injuries have been reported.

The Type 1 Incident Management Blue Team continues to be in command of firefighting efforts. Firefighters will continue to patrol, monitor and mop up the perimeter, as well as secure the fire’s edge in the Kissimmee Billy Strand area, the National Park Service said.

Drivers should use caution along Interstate 75 for smoke and emergency vehicles.

Jay Collett of the Southern Area Blue Team provides an update on the blaze:

The following closures remain in place:

  • Pink Jeep, Bear Island and Gator Head Campgrounds
  • The road leading into the Sanctuary, except to residents
  • All trails between State Road 29, L-28 Canal and north of I-75, including that section of the Florida Trail
  • All public lands west of the L-28 Canal, north of Alligator Alley and east of State Road 29

Private lands in the designated closure area shall remain open, but residents should use caution.

These areas are closed to all recreational use, including off-road vehicles, hiking, camping and commercial activities, due to safety concerns related to nearby wildfires, according to the National Park Service.

Portions of the preserve are still closed, including the Monument Lake and Burns Lake Campgrounds and some trails. A flight restriction for the area over the fire remains in place.

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