Prescribed fire today at Lake George Conservation Area in Putnam County

Lake George Conservation Area

~Jumping Gully Campground and part of Truck Trail 2 to be closed during the burn~

PALATKA, Fla., Feb. 2, 2018 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 1,095-acre prescribed burn Friday at the Lake George Conservation Area in Putnam County, between Fish Camp Road and Truck Trail 1. The burn includes both sides of Truck Trail 2, a portion of which is closed to ensure public safety. The Jumping Gully Campground also is closed during the burn. The purpose of the burn is to mitigate hazardous fuels and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems.

The fire was set by aerial ignition. Aerial ignition allows district staff to ignite fires more quickly, which results in faster burnout and less lingering smoke. Convection produced by igniting an area rapidly can help move the smoke up and away more quickly. Aerial ignition also allows staff to introduce fire into areas that may be inaccessible from the ground, ensuring that prescribed fire is introduced into even the most remote areas of the property. Aerial ignition allows staff to burn more acres in a shorter period of time, which in time will aid district staff in maintaining the fire frequency needed for the maintenance of the conservation area.

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.