[UPDATE] Prescribed Fire Awareness Week in Florida

By: Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy Release
By: Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy Release

Update 1/23/11 at 6:21pm

Prescribed Fire Awareness Week starts Sunday. It's a week dedicated to reminding citizens of a safe way to help the ecosystem.

In 1990, the Florida Legislature passed the Prescribed Burning Act to recognize the importance of prescribed fire as a tool to manage Florida's public and private lands.

The Forestry Department of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issues more than 120 thousand burn permits a year in Florida.

The prescribed fires are used to reduce hazardous fuel buildups, and may be more beneficial than you think.

Meteorologist Nate Harrington said, "It's beneficial for everyone to know that these prescribed fire are helping the forest, not hurting the forest. If we have freak lightening storms or people are careless with their campfires that is more dangerous to the forest than prescribed burnings."

The North Florida Prescribed Fire Council will be conducting controlled burnings on Tuesday on segments of the Kate Ireland Parkway on 319 in Leon County.

The council is hoping people will see them burning the median as they drive along the highway, and then later see the wildflowers bloom as a direct result of the prescribed burn.

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Tallahassee, FL –

Prescribed Fire Awareness Week (PFAW) in Florida is January 23-29. The purpose of PFAW is to convey to Floridians that prescribed burning is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risk. In 1990, the Florida Legislature passed the Prescribed Burning Act to recognize the importance of prescribed fire as “…the most important tool for the management of Florida’s public and private natural lands and is critical to the restoration and maintenance of the ecological integrity of Florida’s uplands and wetlands ….”

Weather permitting, a prescribed burn of segments of the Kate Ireland Parkway (US 319/ SR 61 in Leon County, FL) is planned Tuesday, Jan. 25 during PFAW (the alternate date is Wed., Jan 26.) The burn is a joint effort of members of the North Florida Prescribed Fire Council, the Florida Division of Forestry, Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Georgia State Patrol (GSP). FDOT will provide traffic control including signs and message boards. The FHP and FDOT Motor Carrier Compliance officers will assist with traffic control. The GSP will control traffic from the north, which will encounter the burn immediately south of the FL/GA line.

There will be a media briefing Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 10:00 AM, at a staging area just north of County Road 12 on the south bound side of US 319. The approximate time for ignition of the burn is 11:00 AM.

The Kate Ireland Parkway (KIP) is the recipient of a 2008 Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative (EEI) award from the Federal Highway Administration, “for developing a sustainable landscape restoration and vegetation management initiative using prescribed burn methods.” The KIP burn is an opportunity for the motoring public to see not only a safe prescribed burn being conducted along a highway, but also to later see wildflowers bloom in the open park-like median, a direct result of this land management practice.

For more information about Prescribed Fire Awareness Week or the benefits of prescribed burning, contact Lane Green, Executive Director Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy 850.893.4153, x239 or email: lane@ttrs.org.


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