Two prescribed fires today in Lake and Alachua counties


PALM BAY, Fla., Jan. 17, 2018 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is taking advantage of ideal weather conditions to conduct two prescribed burns at properties; one in Lake County and one in Alachua County.

Land management staff are burning 936 acres at Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area in Lake County to prepare for a wetland restoration/enhancement project and to maintain fire-dependent wetland communities. This area will be closed to public access for the entirety of the burn.

Meanwhile, staff are also burning 655 acres of flatwoods on Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area in Alachua County.  The burn, east of County Road 325, and immediately west of Lake Lochloosa, will reduce hazardous fuel loads and maintain fire-dependent natural communities.

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 wind and other weather conditions are correct for controlling the fire and minimizing the impacts of smoke to residents and traffic.