Prescribed fire today at Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area in Marion County

Prescribed fire burning underbrush

Prescribed fire reduces the chance of wildfire and helps to restore and maintain natural plant communities.

Prescribed fire burning underbrush

Prescribed fire reduces the chance of wildfire and helps to restore and maintain natural plant communities.

PALATKA, Fla., Feb. 18, 2019 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 106-acre prescribed burn Monday at Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area, near the intersection of Southeast Maricamp Road and Southeast 114th Street Road in Marion County. The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel loads and maintain fire-dependent natural communities.

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.