Wildfire endangers Florida panthers in Big Cypress National Preserve

A wildfire has burned more than 16,400 acres of Big Cypress National Preserve, threatening endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers and Florida panthers.

The fire, in the remote heart of the preserve between Tamiami Trail and Alligator Alley, began with a lightning strike last Wednesday, with winds driving it to the west.

“Because there are few manmade obstacles, like roads or trails, the fire is hard to contain,” said Jim Payne, spokesman for the incident command team.

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