REDLAND, Fla. — Rick Anderson, the fire management officer for Everglades National Park, stood in the burnt grass where the largest fire in 19 years began here last week and assessed the costs and benefits.
The fire, which was 70 percent under control on Thursday, has scorched about 40,000 acres, sent smoke over Miami and forced schools to close temporarily. And yet, it has also poured nutrients into the soil, killed nonnative plants and made it harder for hawks to prey on the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow.
Park officials said someone sparked the fire accidentally or by arson, but is the impact good or bad? . . .