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Cowbell Fire

Unit Information

Big Cypress National Preserve
National Park Service
Ochopee, FL 34141

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Cowbell Fire Update 04/20/2017

Cowbell Fire Wildfire
News – 4/20/2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017 8:30 a.m.

Cowbell Fire Stats: The Cowbell Fire is currently 21,815 acres and 55% contained, with 238 personnel assigned. Equipment resources include seven helicopters and 13 engines.

Current fire situation: The Type 1 Incident Management Blue Team continues to be in command of the Cowbell Fire. The fire continues to slowly burn grass and brush in the interior portions of the fire perimeter with minimal fire activity observed on Wednesday, April 19. Firefighters improved containment lines along the boundary of Big Cypress National Preserve and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, while patrolling and monitoring the southern perimeter along Interstate 75, and the eastern perimeter near Sanctuary Community. Smoke from the fire could be seen from I-75. To date, there still have been no reportable injuries for incident responders.

Planned action: Fire resources will continue patrolling and monitoring the perimeter with engines and crews, while mopping-up any hotspots along the southern and eastern perimeters. Along the northern boundary, fire crews will look to strengthen existing containment lines, while using controlled fire to remove unburned fuel if possible. Fire conditions are currently limited by the moist fuel types in the Kissimmee Billy Strand area. Aviation resources will conduct strategic water drops as needed. Resources also are available to respond to any new wildfires in the preserve and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The Blue Team is also responsible for the Parliament Fire, at 95% containment, near Everglades City.

Fire weather: High pressure centered to the east, will continue to dominate the weather for the next several days. A few isolated showers will be possible today. By Friday, a drier air mass will move into the area, with Relative Humidity values dropping into the low to mid 30% range on Friday and Saturday. The next opportunity for any rain will come on Sunday as a cold front begins to approach the region. This will also turn the wind to the south and southwest on Sunday. The front is forecast to move across the area on Monday, with a west wind behind it.

Cooperators: National Park Service/Big Cypress National Preserve, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Forest Service, Seminole Tribe of Florida, Florida Highway Patrol and Collier County (Florida) Office of Emergency Management.

Restrictions and closures: 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.

These areas are closed to all recreational use, including off-road vehicles (ORVs), hiking, camping and commercial activities due to safety concerns related to wildfires in the area.

Portions of the preserve, including Monument Lake and Burns Lake Campgrounds and some trails remain closed due to the Parliament Fire. A temporary flight restriction remains in place over the Cowbell Fire.For more information, please call 305-204-6659 or email Follow us on InciWeb at, Facebook at or Twitter at


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