PALATKA, Fla., Feb. 15, 2019 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 129-acre prescribed fire Friday at the River Styx tract of Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve, just over two miles northwest of the intersection of County Road 325 and Country Road 346 in Alachua County. The purpose of the burn is to reintroduce fire to fire-dependent ecosystems and reduce 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 managing the fire and minimizing the impacts of smoke to residents and traffic.