Cowbell fire reaches 15,000 acres in Big Cypress National Preserve

Posted at 11:45 PM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 14:30:43-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- Tuesday was a busy day for firefighters in Collier County as they worked to try to contain a growing fire in Big Cypress National Preserve in eastern Collier County, where dry weather is helping fuel the brush fire.

Visibility has been an issue along Alligator Alley near the Broward County line, but the interstate had not endured any road closures yet this week.

Federal forestry officials say they dug fire lines around the fire, meaning they burned an area so the original fire could not spread further.

This wildfire, known as the Cowbell Fire, has been burning for over a week.  On Sunday morning the fire was said to be only 596 acres in size, but has now grown to over 15,000 acres with only 11% contained.

According to preserve officials, 246 personnel have been assigned to the fire, and equipment resources include seven helicopters, two single engine air tankers and 19 engines. 

The fire is approximately one mile north of I-75 between mile markers 56 and 64, two miles west of the L-28 Road and one mile west of Nobles Grade.

The following closures remain in place in Big Cypress National Preserve:

  • 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

The following adjacent areas will remain open:

  • Private lands in the designated closure area shall remain open; residents should use caution.