The wildfire in the Big Cypress Preserve in the Everglades continues to burn, shutting down Alligator Alley for the second consecutive day,and possibly,through to Monday. Containment is about 30%. Tuesday morning's thunderstorm over the 'Glades triggered a lightning strike.
My first thought when hearing of this disaster was to think that someone's careless cigarette had been flipped out of a car window. Unfortunately, that action is a common sight, and wasn't beyond the realm of possibility.
The Everglades span the entire southern half of Florida. Over a million and a half acres, with a maximum elevation of no more than ten feet above sea level, the Everglades is the largest subtropical wetland in North America. This massive watershed provides a subtropical refuge for unique wildlife and endangered species.
I've taken Loop Road 29 which draws you through a corridor of hardwood trees. On one side, the vast prairies stretch out almost endlessly. Great White Herons and other bird species share the saw grass marshlands with their neighbor, the alligator. It's also reported that some 30,000 Burmese python now inhabit areas of the Everglades. On the opposite side of the loop road, Blue Night Herons, Egrets and Ibis roam the deep forest sanctuaries.
The Big Cypress Preserve has always been a favorite photographic junket of mine. There's an amazing solitude that prevails, a wonderful peace, with only the chants of wildlife breaking the silence.
When something as devastating as fire engulfs and threatens people's lives and homes, or rages through a precious ecosystem such as the Everglades, it saddens me.