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., May 8, 2019 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting an 87-acre prescribed burn Wednesday at Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area within the Chornobyl Memorial Forest in Marion County. The burn will be located approximately a half mile north of the trailhead. The purpose of the burn is maintenance and enhancement of sandhill natural communities.

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.