Prescribed fire helps reduce the possibility of dangerous wildfire while enhancing land’s environmental quality.

From the St. Johns River Water Management District

St. John’s River Water Management District land managers are planning an aerial prescribed burn Saturday, February 22nd, at the Lake Apopka North Shore, if forecast weather conditions continue to hold. There are no scheduled closures to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive or the Loop Trail. However, if the burn does occur, visitors would see fire and smoke on the drive, particularly at Lake Level Canal Road and the Wildlife Drive exit, as well as seeing land managers and the contract helicopter crew busy at work.

The benefits of periodic prescribed fires are many — they reduce chances of destructive wildfires, restore and maintain natural communities, perpetuate fire-adapted plants and animals, cycle nutrients, manage tree diseases and open scenic vistas. But these great benefits don’t come without the possibility of temporary nuisances, such as smoke and ash.

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 wind and other weather conditions are correct for managing the fire and minimizing the impacts of smoke to residents and traffic.

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.

For more information about the district, please visit www.sjrwmd.com.

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