Prescribed fire today at Newnans Lake Conservation Area in Alachua County

Trail through hardwood forest at Newnans Conservation Area

Trail through hardwood forest at Newnans Conservation Area

PALATKA, Fla., June 15, 2018 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 128-acre prescribed fire on the Hatchet Creek Tract of the Newnans Lake Conservation Area in Alachua County. The purpose of the burn is to maintain fire-dependent ecosystems and reduce wildland 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.