Prescribed Fires Help Protect Natural Areas

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson this week is promoting the awareness of prescribed fire’s vital role in maintaining the health of Florida’s forests and other natural areas, as well as protecting the safety of the state’s residents and visitors.

The Florida Cabinet in 2008 designated the first week in March as “Prescribed Fire Awareness Week.”

“Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risk,” Bronson said. “Many of our plant and animal communities are dependent on a regular occurrence of fire for a healthy existence.  Prescribed fire provides better forage for wildlife and livestock, returns nutrients to the soil, helps to control certain plant diseases, and reduces hazardous fuel buildups.”

“Through our Division of Forestry, we promote the reduction of hazardous fuel buildups, especially in our wildland-urban interface areas,” Bronson said.  “Prescribed burning helps provide protection to thousands of homeowners across Florida.”

According to state wildfire officials, Florida has one of the most extensive prescribed burning programs in the country.  There are currently more than 2,200 certified prescribed burn managers in Florida helping to prescribe burn in excess of 2 million acres of agricultural and natural lands each year.

For more information about Florida’s Division of Forestry, including information about wildfires, visit the division’s web site at http://www.fl-dof.com.  For more information about prescribed burning, visit http://www.goodfires.org.

John Fish
fishj@doacs.state.fl.us
(850) 487-2060

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