Tallahassee, FL – January 19, 2012 -
Prescribed Fire Awareness Week (PFAW) in Florida is January 22-28. 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. 24 during PFAW (the alternate dates are Jan 25 and 26.) The burn is a joint effort of members of the North Florida Prescribed Fire Council, the Florida Forest Service, 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.
The approximate time for ignition of the burn is 10:00 a.m.; however activity in preparation for the burn will begin at 7:00 a.m. and continue through the day until mop up is completed. Media can be briefed by an Information Team beginning at 10 a.m. at the staging area just north of County Road 12 on the south bound side of US 319.
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.