COLLIER COUNTY (CBS4) – After a day’s respite, South Florida once again woke up to smoky, hazy conditions thanks to a wildfire burning in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County.

Wednesday night park spokesman Jim Payne said the fire, which had burned more than 38 thousand acres, was about 85 percent contained and they are starting to release fire crew members as needed.

On Thursday, fire crews plan to improve indirect control lines on the northwest flank and burn out interior areas of unburned fuel.  They will also patrol and mop up the remainder of the fire perimeter as needed.

The fire was sparked on April 26th by a lightning strike. As of Wednesday, the fire was 70 percent contained. The park service does not expect to have the fire fully contained until May 18th.

Slideshow: Big Cypress National Park Wildfire


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