Wildfire scorches 1,200 acres of Everglades; will there be more if coronavirus restrictions lift?
Kimberly Miller Published 10:47 a.m. ET April 28, 2020 CLOSEPALM BEACH, Fla. — A wildfire fire sparked by mistake and fed by drought burned more than 1,200 acres in South Florida’s Everglades and continues to smolder despite pockets of drenching rain over the weekend.The so-called Sunday Afternoon fire that has seared sawgrass prairie, melaleuca and Australian Pine in Everglades National Park began April 19 and was 70 percent contained as of Monday.Fires on adjacent state-owned land were mostly extinguished, but concerns are mounting that relaxed coronavirus orders could mean more unintended ignitions with 65 percent of the state in moderate to severe drought.“Now that things are beginning to open up a little bit, people will probably start going out and there’s a greater chance of something happening that could start a fire,” said Scott Peterich, a Florida Forest Service wildfire mitigation specialist in Palm Beach County. “It’s been so dry, but all the parks are closed so you didn’t have anyone in them.”More: US reopening: Which states have relaxed restrictions? Find out what your state is doingThere were 26 active wildfires on state land Monday.The cause of the Sunday Afternoon fire is still under investigation, but “human influence is likely,” according to a press