District recognizes benefits of prescribed burns during Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, Jan. 22-28

PALATKA, Fla., Jan. 23, 2017 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is again joining other agencies, local governments and private landowners across the state in the annual recognition of Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, scheduled this year for Jan. 22-28.

“Conducting prescribed fires is an ongoing practice we routinely use for fire-dependent species and to help maintain the health and variety of plant and animal life on public lands,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Prescribed fires also help to reduce the risk of dangerous wildfires. The district strives to be good stewards of our public lands and good neighbors to adjacent private landowners.”

Since 1993, district staff have completed 1,395 burns on 561,238 acres. Staff take great care to plan and safely conduct prescribed fires – fires that imitate nature but with less risk of property loss and more savings to taxpayers.

Prescribed fire’s 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.

Safety is a top priority in conducting prescribed fires. District land managers spend many hours training and double-checking wind and weather conditions to prepare for this task.

In addition, the district collaborates year-round with many partners, including other agencies and local government staffs. These strong partnerships benefit from shared expertise and staffing, not only for conducting prescribed fires, but also in fighting wildfires, enhancing training opportunities and more.

Information about the district’s prescribed burn program may be found online at http://www.sjrwmd.com/landmanagement/prescribedfire.html.