News Release: Florida Dept. of Agriculture
August 21, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Forest Service oversees one of the most active prescribed fire programs in the country in order to reduce the risk of wildfires and keep Florida’s natural habitats healthy and growing.
During the past year, the Florida Forest Service reports that more than 2.5 million acres across Florida were treated with prescribed fire, one of the highest numbers ever reported by any state in the country. More than 214,000 of these acres were on state forest land.
“Prescribed fire in Florida is a very important land management tool,” said State Forester Jim Karels. “It is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health, and reduce the wildfire risk to people, homes and natural resources.”
Prescribed fire is used to reduce the buildup of the flammable plant materials that fuel and intensify dangerous wildfires. This reduction of hazardous buildup results in increased safety for surrounding areas. Other benefits from prescribed fires include:
- Disease control in young pines.
- Habitat improvement for wildlife.
- Range management.
- Preservation of endangered plant and animal species.
The Florida Forest Service regularly manages its 1 million acres of state forest lands with prescribed fire, while also conducting or authorizing prescribed burns on other public and private lands.