With a record drought, Florida has been experiencing record wildfires. These conditions put wildlife on the move as they evade fire or seek watery refuge. Motorists should be on the lookout for wildlife crossing roadways, especially during early morning and late evening hours.
Firefighters on the Oil Pad Fire Complex in Big Cypress National Preserve witnessed this when an eleven-foot alligator navigated its way through an obstacle course consisting of fire vehicles, engines, and swamp buggy trailers before sliding down a four-foot ledge into a pond. The fire crews now understand the importance of performing a safety walk around a vehicle before driving.
Although summer thunderstorms are rolling in, and the Oil Pad Complex is 95% contained, this year’s fire season is not yet over. The guest alligator served as a physical reminder of the risks firefighters face and the need for situational awareness to stay safe. You never know when there may be an alligator crawling under a truck.