Big Cypress National Preserve and the Southeast Region of the National Park Service are pleased to announce the release of the new short film, “Mud Lake Mosaic.” The documentary covers the management of the Mud Lake Complex, a series of wildfires caused by lightning strikes at Big Cypress in late spring 2015.
The Mud Lake Complex wildfires burned over 35,000 acres of Big Cypress National Preserve. Although naturally-ignited wildfires have helped shape the fire-adapted and fire-dependent Big Cypresslandscape for thousands of years, fire managers cannot allow fires to freely roam the preserve without some degree of management. In the case of the Mud Lake Complex, major transportation corridors, private property and public safety all had to be protected.
Big Cypress fully embraces the scientific role of fire in the preserve’s cycle of life – from the plants, to the trees, to the wildlife. The preserve’s goal in their response to wildfire is to manage fire so it can provide natural benefit tothe area and its inhabitants, without threatening human safety.
The initial fire, the Ellison fire, began on May 8. Fire managers established boundaries to contain the fire, but continued lightning strikes over the next 48 hours ignited numerous other fires throughout the preserve.
Big Cypress requested help from the brightest minds in the firefighting and natural resources communities. Help came in from all over the country in the form of collaboration with other local, state and federal agencies andmultiple interagency incident management teams.
The Mud Lake Complex lasted for over a month, but resulted in a successfully executed strategy that helped to maintain and restore a resilient landscape. The film, “Mud Lake Mosaic” captures all the nuances of these challenging fires. The film can be found on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw3QSn5ES9g.
For more information regarding the Mud Lake Complex, the filming of “Mud Lake Mosaic,” or Big Cypress National Preserve’s Wildland Fire and Aviation Program, contact Big Cypress Fire Management Officer Jordan McKnight at firstname.lastname@example.org.