The sawgrass fire has burned 33,000 acres of wetlands and counting.

By Meghan Overdeep
June 26, 2019

A wildfire sparked by a lightning strike over the weekend continued to burn across the Florida Everglades Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday evening, the Florida Forest Service announced that the #SawgrassFire had been just 40% contained, with more than 33,000 acres (roughly 50 miles) burned. Today, FFS shared via Twitter that the fire was at 65% containment just west of the city of Weston in Broward County. The total burned acreage is still being calculated.

Fortunately, no people have been hurt, and experts believe that as long as the fire is contained to the unpopulated wetlands, it should stay that way.

Drivers, however, have felt the effects of the massive brushfire. Portions of Interstate 75 were closed periodically as shifting winds caused billowing smoke to obscure visibility. Though no structures are believed to be in danger, the National Weather Service in Miami said residents should keep doors and windows closed as smoke drifted into populated areas.

“This is totally different from a regular wildfire; it’s all sawgrass,” Scott Peterich, a local wildfire mitigation specialist with FFS, told Vice News. “I do not believe that this area has burned in a couple of years. It was designed to burn, but it hasn’t burned in a while.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a news release Tuesday that the Florida Forest Service had two fire engines, two trucks, one fixed-wing aircraft, and seven Forest Service wildland firefighters battling the blaze.

“Wildfires can strengthen quickly and threaten public safety—drivers traveling along Alligator Alley should remain vigilant, monitor media for safety alerts and the status of I-75, and follow guidelines from state and local officials,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nicole “Nikki” Fried. “We’re thankful for our brave Forest Service wildland firefighters working around the clock to combat this fire, and to protect lives, property, and our state.”

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