Prescribed fire today at Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve in Alachua County

Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve

PALATKA, Fla., Feb. 1, 2018 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 164-acre prescribed burn Thursday on the River Styx portion of Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve in Alachua County, four miles northwest of the intersection of County Roads 325 and 346. The purpose of the burn includes reintroducing fire to a pyric ecosystem and reducing hazardous 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 wind and other weather conditions are correct for controlling the fire and minimizing the impacts of smoke to residents and traffic.