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Smoky Big Cypress Preserve Wildfire 60% Contained

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Smoke billows from a raging wildfire in the Big Cypress National Preserve.  (Source: Ted Scouten/CBS4)

Smoke billows from a raging wildfire in the Big Cypress National Preserve. (Source: Ted Scouten/CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – The smell of smoke was in the air for most of southwest Broward and portions of Miami-Dade County early on Monday.

The odor and a light haze were from a wildfire in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County. The fire, which started April 26th from a lightning strike, has consumed more than 35-thousand acres.

As of 10 p.m. Monday, 60 percent of the fire had been contained.


Monday morning a light wind out of the west pushed the smell of smoke toward metro Miami-Dade and Broward.

“It was a thick fog and it stinks like burning wood,” said Kevin Henry.

“Little white ash is falling all over the place.  And the smell is, you can see it driving into it,” said Ed Pawlick.

The smoke prompted Broward County to issue a health advisory for anyone who had asthma to stay indoors Monday.

Nearly 350 firefighters from across the U.S. have joined local crews in creating firebreaks in an effort to keep the flames from spreading.

“We’re going to ignite fires and use some of these dried out fuels and burn them, so that by the time the wild fire gets to our burn out operation, there will not be any more fuel, we’re going to contain it,” said Emma Andrews with Big Cypress National Preserve.

But the impact of the fire itself is not necessarily a bad thing.

“You could call it a spring cleaning, remember that wildfires, hurricanes, they all have their part in the South Florida eco-system,” said Andrews.

The fear is that if this fire is not controlled, it will do some serious damage.

”With the conditions we have out here, the worst drought in 50 years, this fire could have gotten a lot bigger. We could have lost homes, the highway, power lines it could have been a real mess,” said Jim Payne with the preserve.

The National Park Service estimates they should have the fire contained by May 18th.

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