The St. Johns River Water Management District staff recently met with Orange County residents to talk about wildfire safety and how they can work together to reduce the risk of fire damage to their homes through prescribed fire.

“The benefit of prescribed fire to communities and landowners is multifaceted, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share our knowledge with residents,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Even though summer rain has left us soggy, it’s important to remember the value of prescribed fire and how it helps prevent wildfires that are more common in dry weather.”

Prescribed fire — the use of carefully planned fire purposefully set under stringent conditions to control the fire’s effects — is used by the district to control fuels that build up in natural areas, reducing the fuels that could feed wildfires.

The district partnered with the Florida Forest Service and Orange County Fire and Rescue for the meeting with residents of Wedgefield in Orange County, which is adjacent to district-owned land. The meetings are part of the residents’ ongoing participation in the national Firewise Communities fire prevention program for homeowners.

During the event, district staff reviewed the prescribed burn plan for surrounding areas, how prescribed burns work and the benefits to communities. In addition to reducing chances of destructive wildfires by burning off fuels that naturally build up over time, benefits also include restoring and maintaining natural communities, perpetuating fire-adapted plants and animals, cycling nutrients, controlling tree diseases, and opening scenic vistas.

Additional information about prescribed fire is available online at www.sjrwmd.com.

About the St. Johns River Water Management District

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.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Here we go again. My absolute number one pet-peeve. The constant and endless prescribed burns of the forests that are claimed to be so necessary. I understand the need for some prescribed burning but those who are in charge of this carry it to the extreme. The woods are getting bulldozed for homes, roads, super beltways, businesses, and the wildlife are being ran out of what is left of the forests because of gun-ho prescribed burning. Then the wildlife like the bears and other creatures end up in the residential areas because of nowhere left for them to go. Then state leaders and FWC say we need bear hunts. This is why bear proof trash cans are in demand because the bears are being ran out of the woods. Why doesn’t the state, counties, and cities ban firework sales to the public if they want to help prevent wildfires and only allow the professional firework shows? I heard that Flagler County is either doing that or considering doing it. It was ridiculous to drive by Wekiwa State Park not long ago and see camper trailers set up out there in the camping area surrounded by burnt woods. I am sure the campers were not counting on that when they planned their camp-outs.

  2. There wasn’t a bear hunt last year but I don’t know if there will be one this year or not, but it sure is interesting that as the season progresses toward the end of the year, when the bear hunts happen traditionally, the talk starts up about the need for prescribed burns….. so the bears can’t hide from the hunters I guess….or to run the bears off into the forested areas were the hunters await. Bears have been spotted around Lake Apopka also….. interesting…..SJWMD controls around there too.

  3. Heavy smoke was pouring across Rock Springs Road earlier today coming from east of Club Plantation blackening the sky. Probably a prescribed burn in Wekiva State Park. I am thankful for the rain today and hope it put it out. More opening “scenic vistas”, no doubt.

  4. Mama, have you been to one of these events to get educated? Respectfully, it sounds like you should. It may not change your mind which is fine but might give you better understanding of Florida’s fire ecology.

  5. Enlightened Individual, I may do just that, what you suggest. I will keep an open mind, but I still can put two and two together, to see what is really going on. If you find yourself camping at one of these wooded areas, or on foot walking through one of brushy forests way back in the remote parts, you may very well be enlightened for sure.

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