Prescribed fire today at Sunnyhill Restoration Area in Marion County

District staff using a drip torch to start a prescribed fire

Prescribed fire reduces the chance of wildfire on district lands.

District staff using a drip torch to start a prescribed fire

Prescribed fire reduces the chance of wildfire on district lands.

Prescribed Fire Awareness Week is Jan. 26 – Feb. 1

PALATKA, Fla., Jan. 13, 2020 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 173-acre prescribed burn Monday at the Sunnyhill Restoration Area north tract, on the eastside of the property along Southeast 182nd Avenue 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 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, managing 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 that wind and other weather conditions are correct for managing the fire and minimizing the impacts of smoke to residents and traffic.