Prescribed fire today at Thomas Creek Conservation Area in Nassau County

Person igniting a prescribed fire in scrub

Prescribed fire reduces the chance of wildfire on district lands.

Person igniting a prescribed fire in scrub

Prescribed fire reduces the chance of wildfire on district lands.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 18, 2019 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 500-acre prescribed burn on Thursday at the Ogilvie-Betz tract of the Thomas Creek Conservation Area in Nassau County. The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuels, improve pyric ecosystems and improve wildlife habitat.

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 manage 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.