Aerial burn activity expected near property entrance and parking area
MAITLAND, Fla., July 14, 2021 — The St. Johns River Water Management District anticipates conducting a 900-acre prescribed burn Thursday at the Hal Scott Regional Preserve and Park, in Orange County. Because the burn unit is adjacent to the property’s entrance and parking area on Dallas Boulevard, the preserve will be closed to public access Thursday to ensure the safety of the public and staff. Follow the District on Twitter at @SJRWMD or Facebook for further announcements.
The purpose of tomorrow’s burn will be to maintain fire-dependent ecosystems and reduce wildland fuel loads to mitigate the risk of future wildfires. Prescribed fire is the use of carefully planned fire purposefully set under stringent conditions to manage the fire’s effects. 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.
If conditions allow the burn to occur as planned, staff will start the fires using aerial ignition, which allows District staff to ignite fires more quickly, resulting in faster burnout and less lingering smoke. Convection produced by igniting an area rapidly can help move the smoke up and away more quickly. Aerial ignition allows staff to burn more acres in a shorter period, which in time aids staff in maintaining the fire frequency needed for the maintenance of the conservation area. Aerial ignition also allows staff to introduce fire into areas that may be inaccessible from the ground, ensuring that prescribed fire is introduced into even the most remote areas of the property.
Periodic prescribed fires on District lands enhance the land’s environmental quality and protect its neighbors from destructive wildfires, but not without the possibility of temporary nuisances, such as smoke and ash.
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.
In fire-dependent ecosystems, fire is as nearly as important as rainfall and sunshine. The benefits of prescribed fire 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.
To learn more about District’s prescribed burn program, visit the District online at www.sjrwmd.com/lands/management/prescribedfire/. Follow the District on social media to know when prescribed burns are taking place in your area or follow the conversation at #RxFire #goodfire #sjrwmd #LoveYourLands.