Prescribed fire today at Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area in Alachua County

Controlled burn area at Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area

~Burnt Island boat launch, fishing pier and roads closed during the burn~

PALATKA, Fla., Feb. 22, 2018 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 270-acre prescribed burn Thursday at the Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area in Alachua County, along Burnt Island Road to Lake Road. For public safety, Burnt Island Road and Cooter Bob Road and access to the Burnt Island boat launch and fishing pier are closed during the burn. The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel loads and to maintain pyric ecosystems.

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.