Monday, December 6, 2021

Summer in the Everglades

Ochopee Fire Patrol responds. Submitted photos

Ochopee Fire Patrol responds. Submitted photos

By Patricia Huff

Mosquitoes, hot muggy weather but those are the only negative things. We also have late afternoon thunderstorms, fish jumping in the river, the call of the birds early in the morning, the quietness of Everglades City this time of year, the beauty of the glades in full bloom, and fruit ripening, especially those delicious mangoes!

Early in the morning of July 10, I was awakened by a call from a neighbor who said Pleasure Island was on fire (this is the island in the middle of the Barron River). It was only 5:23 am but firefighters from East Naples, Marco Island, Port of the Islands and our own local Ochopee Fire Patrol were on the scene. Residents around the city could see the flames shooting out over the palm trees, starting around 4:30 am. The cause of the fire is unknown (at the time of this writing), but it started in one house and spread to the two adjacent homes on either side; one was totally destroyed,

Waterview of fire damage.

Waterview of fire damage.

one gutted and another damaged. The Ochopee Firefighters were prepared with their “fire boat” which was able to assist with containing the fire from the river as others were controlling the fire on land. Credit should be given to all those who were able to stop the fire from spreading throughout the island.

Join Clyde and Niki Butcher for their Big Cypress Gallery Annual Labor Day Weekend Open House from September 3-5. The weekend events include: Large Format Camera Demonstrations, Black & White Hand Painting Demonstrations by Niki, Book Signings with Clyde and other FL Authors, Swamp Walks (very limited space). Make your swamp walk reservation early. You will have a guide to lead you into the Big Cypress Swamp behind the swamp cottage at the Big Cypress Gallery which is a mysterious and secretive environment. For reservations and information, contact Big Cypress Gallery ( at 239-695-2428 or email

Patricia Huff has lived in Everglades City for the past 16 years and is the Publisher of the local newspaper The Mullet Rapper.

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