Controlled burn today at Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area in Alachua County

PALATKA, Fla., Dec. 8, 2016 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 160-acre prescribed burn Thursday at the Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area near the intersection of County Road 325 and County Road 346 in Alachua County. The purpose of the burn is to prepare the site for reforestation into longleaf pine and to reduce fuel loads.

PALATKA, Fla., Dec. 8, 2016 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 160-acre prescribed burn Thursday at the Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area near the intersection of County Road 325 and County Road 346 in Alachua County. The purpose of the burn is to prepare the site for reforestation into longleaf pine and to reduce fuel loads.

Prescribed fire is the use of carefully planned fire purposefully set under stringent conditions to control the fire’s effects. Its benefits include restoring and maintaining natural communities, reducing chances of destructive wildfires, perpetuating fire-adapted plants and animals,cycling nutrients, controlling tree diseases and opening scenic vistas. Prescribed fires help prevent wildfires by burning off fuels that naturally build up over time, while also helping to control the growth of woody shrubs.

Before conducting a burn, the district ensures that wind and other weather conditions are correct for controlling the fire and minimizing the impacts of smoke to residents and traffic.