The Southwest Florida Water Management District plans to set some fires deliberately to reduce the risk of fires getting out of control, according to a district news release.
The technique, known as setting prescribed fires controlled settings, reduces the chance of wildfires that can cause extensive damage, as well as threatening lives and property.
Many Floridians witnessed the devastation that wildfires can create when the state was under a wildfire emergency in 2017.
Although the acreages may sound large, the release explains that the burns will be done in small, manageable units.
Between now and the end of the year, the water management district is planning prescribed burns on these Pasco County properties:
• Cypress Creek Preserve, east of Ehren Cutoff and south of State Road 52: About 300 acres
- Conner Preserve, west of Ehren Cutoff and south of State Road 52: About 500 acres
- Starkey Wilderness Preserve, east of New Port Richey, west of the Suncoast Parkway, north of State Road 54 and south of State Road 52: About 600 acres
- Upper Hillsborough Preserve, south of the County Road 54 and east of Chancey Road in Zephyrhills: About 550 acres
- Weeki Wachee Preserve, north of Hudson, west of U.S. Highway 19 and includes the Aripeka Sandhills tract: About 100 acres
Some trails may be temporarily closed during prescribed burn events.
Major benefits of prescribed burns include:
- Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
- Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
- Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
- Maintaining access for public recreation
The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year.
Published December 16, 2020