PALATKA, Fla., April 24, 2019 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting an 88-acre prescribed burn Wednesday at the Bayard Conservation Area in Clay County near the intersection of Sweat Road and U.S. 17. The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuels and improve sandhills and wildlife habitat by stimulating growth of wiregrass and other vegetation.
Prescribed fire is the use of carefully planned fire purposefully set under stringent conditions to manage 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.