PHOTOS: Firefighters conduct controlled burn in 5,000 acres of Big Cypress

Assistant engine captain Justin Phippen lights a controlled burn on Thursday afternoon along Turner River Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Eastern Collier County. In three days of the prescribed burning, the team of wildland firefighters has burned roughly 5,000 of the 720,000 acres of the preserve. The project is part of an ongoing effort to replicate the natural process that wildfire plays in the area's ecosystem. David Albers/Staff

Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo

Assistant engine captain Justin Phippen lights a controlled burn on Thursday afternoon along Turner River Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Eastern Collier County. In three days of the prescribed burning, the team of wildland firefighters has burned roughly 5,000 of the 720,000 acres of the preserve. The project is part of an ongoing effort to replicate the natural process that wildfire plays in the area's ecosystem. David Albers/Staff

— Wildland firefighters from the Big Cypress National Preserve, the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park have spent three days conducting a controlled burn of roughly 5,000 of the 720,000 acres of the Big Cypress National Preserve in Eastern Collier County.

The recent winter weather with low afternoon humidity provided a window of opportunity for the firefighters for the project before the peak of Florida's wildfire season.

The prescribed burns replicate the natural process that wildfire plays in the area's ecosystem. Without the prescribed burns in the Everglades, underbrush becomes unnaturally thick, creating conditions that can cause unnaturally hot and chaotic wildfires that damage the environment and threaten man-made structures.

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Comments » 1

ajm3s writes:

Can I ask when will there be a story on the discussions regarding mutual aid concerns raised by the Isle of Capri Fire Chief. You know his concern that Marco Island's Fire Chief insists, through policy that all calls require a mutual aid response from the Isle of Capri to the City of Marco Island.

Eagle Staff: Please advise your editor to do his job. This is the second firefighter related story from this newspaper and still not one article on mutual aid.

Do I need to go to Marco Island Sun Times for the news that is fit to print as well as report?

Time to punch in and write the stories that influence our lives on this island. Mr Murphy is always claiming our safety is his utmost concern. It should be the Eagles as well and to keep us informed

Mr. Murphy's policy of mutual aid is what I would call wasteful and place undue burden on the Isle of Capri as the responding unit.

And this with Marco Island having a fully staffed department in the off-season.

This is a rare city in which we have full time staffing that remains unchanged from peak season to off-season. That my friends is blatant waste. To Mr. Murphy, the off-season is spent training.

To the firefighters in the brush as detailed in this article, they can start fires and use mutual aid effectively. Now that is what I call a community with a professional firefighting crew.

God help us all at least on Marco Island!

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