From the St. Johns River Water Management District

The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 900-acre prescribed burn Saturday within the Lake Apopka North Shore, west of Lake Level Canal Road. The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems. The popular Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and Loop Trail remain open to visitors, though smoke and fire will be visible.

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.

Fires were set by aerial ignition. Aerial ignition allows district staff to ignite fires more quickly, which results 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 of time, 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.

Follow the district on social media to know when prescribed burns are taking place in your area. To learn more about the district’s prescribed burn program, visit the district online at www.sjrwmd.com/lands/management/prescribedfire/.

The St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the district and the state of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The district encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville, and Palm Bay.

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