By Evie Carrick
June 27, 2019

The Sawgrass fire in the Florida Everglades is still going, with recent reports saying that the fire has consumed more than 42,000 acres.

The fire, which was likely started by lightning on Sunday night, grew from 18,500 acres to 32,000 acres Monday night with hot and dry conditions fueling the burn. By Wednesday night, the fire was 75 percent contained, according to the Accuweather.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker, South Florida has seen unusually warm temperatures and little rain the past week, which likely aided the fire’s rapid growth. Nearby, Miami has seen 21 days of above-normal temperatures and an all-time high for the month of June on Monday.

The fire is located eight miles west of Weston, Florida and south of I-75. Poor visibility and low air quality is impacting drivers and residents of southern Florida as smoke drifts south.

Lightning started a fire on 15,500 acres of public lands 1.2 miles north of Interstate 75 and 3.9 miles west of U.S. 27. in western Broward County.
Sun Sentinel/Getty Images

However, while the fire is keeping firefighters busy and impacting southern Florida residents, VICE News reports that fire is a healthy, natural part of the Everglades’ ecosystem.

“If marshes don't burn they turn into forests eventually,” said Mark Clark, a wetlands specialist at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, to VICE News. “And this one is within a conservation area, so it's actually a good thing to be happening. Fire is an important component of the ecology.”

Until the fire is controlled or the smoke disperses, weather officials suggest that residents keep doors and windows closed.