Florida: Huckabee Fire burns 16,000 acres

Map of Huckabee Fire
Huckabee Fire
Huckabee Fire. NPS photo.

UPDATE at 12:16 p.m. ET, April 1, 2013

The Huckabee Fire 26 miles east of Naples, Florida continued to require intermittent closures of Interstate 75 overnight due to smoke and fog, but it reopened Monday morning. Burning in Big Cypress National Preserve, the fire has blackened 20,000 acres and is 40% contained, according to Cass Palmer, the Incident Commander of a Type 3 incident management team running the fire.

On Sunday firefighters conducted a 4,000-acre burnout which reduced the visibility on the Interstate and required a temporary closure. A minor accident on the highway was managed as an incident within an incident by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Firefighters have observed the fire spreading at 80 to 100 chains per hour (5,280 to 6,600 feet per hour) and spot fires up to 600 feet ahead. A large Type 1 helicopter and a Hotshot crew arrived at the fire Sunday.

According to the Incident Status Summary, the Incident Commander expects to fully contain the fire on Monday, April 1.


(Originally published at 9:29 p.m. ET, March 31, 2013)

Map of Huckabee Fire
Map of Huckabee Fire at 3:48 p.m. ET, 3-31-2013. The red areas indicate locations most recently burned that were detected by a satellite.

A wildfire in Big Cypress National Preserve has forced the closure of Interstate 75 in Alligator Alley. As of 1 p.m. ET the Huckabee Fire 26 miles east of Naples, Florida had burned 16,000 acres since it started 48 hours earlier. The fire is 10 percent contained and the cause is described as suspicious by the staff of the Preserve.

I checked the weather at the Panther East automatic weather station 2.5 miles northwest of the fire and the conditions have not been extreme. The temperature on Sunday ranged from an overnight low of 47° to a high of 86°. The minimum relative humidity on Sunday was 37 percent, which is a little low for south Florida. The wind has been 8 mph out of the southwest with gusts to 15.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.