Sawgrass Fire in Florida briefly closes Interstate 75

The fire has burned 41,500 acres 9 miles northwest of Weston

Sawgrass Fire everglades Florida
Sawgrass Fire. Photo by Florida Forest Service June 25, 2019.

(Originally published at 11:36 a.m. EDT June 25, 2019)

The Sawgrass Fire in the south Florida everglades required the closure of Interstate 75 for about 10 minutes Tuesday when smoke affected visibility on the highway. A light rain slowed the movement of the blaze and reduced the smoke, allowing the highway to reopen. As you can see in the map below, a satellite was still able to detect heat during a 2:36 a.m. overflight Wednesday.

map Sawgrass Fire everglades Florida
Map showing heat detected by a satellite over the Sawgrass Fire at 2:36 a.m. June 26, 2019. The red areas are the most recently burned.

Since the fire started from a lightning strike Sunday afternoon it has burned 33,500 acres of state-protected land as of Tuesday evening, according to the Florida Forest Service. The land in the area is managed by the South Florida Water Management District. (UPDATE at 2:05 p.m. EDT June 26, 2019: The Florida Forest Service has revised the estimated size to 41,500 acres.)

Four firefighters are assigned to the fire, led by a Type 5 Incident Commander.

The blaze is about one mile away from both Interstate 75 and State Highway 27. The objective is to keep the blaze within the 165,000-acre conservation area that is bordered by canals, said Scott Peterich, a spokesman with the Florida Forest Service’s Everglades District.

For the last couple of days the smoke has been moving to the northeast, somewhat sparing the community of Weston located 9 miles southeast of the fire. The forecast through Friday calls for east or northeast winds that will push the smoke away from the densely populated areas on the east side of south Florida. There is a 40 to 50 percent chance of rain Wednesday and Friday.

Check out the video of a drone flying through the fire:

Sawgrass Fire everglades Florida
Sawgrass Fire. Photo by Florida Forest Service June 24, 2019.


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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.