Could get smoky: 35,000-acre Big Cypress brush fire 60 percent contained

Officials fighting the large brush fire in the Big Cypress National Preserve said the fire is 60 percent contained.

“We are at 35,850 acres,” said Mike Johnson spokesman for the fire at the Big Cypress National Preserve.

Johnson said the fire had grown in size Sunday, due intentionally lit fires meant to burn brush in a controlled manner and to prevent the spread of the fire, nicknamed Jarhead

“Today we successfully completed burnout operations in the southern portion of the fire,” he said. “We will continue tomorrow with burnout operation in the northwestern point of the fire.”

About 348 federal firefighters and support staff are working the fire that’s deep in the woods between the Alligator Alley portion of Interstate 75 and U.S. 41 East.

Johnson warned that Southwest Florida residents could be dealing with smoke Tuesday, when the winds are expected to shift eastward.

“The winds should shift by mid-morning so people may see the increase of smoke in the afternoon,” he said. “People may start seeing an increase in smoke in the afternoon.”

Drivers were also urged to take extra caution if they planned to drive on U.S. 41 or I-75 between Naples and Miami.

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