controlled burns use slow-moving, low-grade fire to reduce brush and overgrowth
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Florida Forest Service is highlighting prescribed fire and its role in public safety and maintaining the health of Florida’s agriculture and natural lands during Florida’s Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, January 27 through February 2.
“Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensuring the health of our natural habitats and protecting Florida’s residents and visitors by reducing the risk of wildfire,” said Commissioner Nicole Fried.
Prescribed fires, or controlled burns, use slow-moving, low-grade fire to reduce brush and overgrowth that would otherwise serve as fuel for a dangerous wildfire.
By using prescribed fire in an area that poses a high wildfire risk, a future wildfire in the same area will be less intense, less dangerous and easier to extinguish. In addition to reducing wildfire risk, prescribed fires return nutrients to the soil, provide better forage for wildlife and livestock and help control certain plant and tree diseases.
“The Florida Forest Service’s prescribed fire program encompasses a long-term, sustained approach,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service.
“Prescribed fire is one of the most valuable land management tools to reduce wildfire threats and to restore forest health, which maintains the balance of Florida’s fire-dependent ecosystems.”
While smoke from a nearby prescribed fire may be a brief inconvenience, it is important to remember the benefits. Prescribed fires reduce life-threatening wildfires, increasing public safety and the safety of our wildland firefighters.
The Florida Forest Service oversees the most extensive prescribed burning program in the United States, issuing an average of 85,000 prescribed burn authorizations each year and burning over 2.3 million acres of agricultural and natural lands.
The state agency also administers the Certified Prescribed Burn Manager Program, a course designed to train individuals in public and private agencies and organizations that are charged with the responsibility of performing prescribed fires.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests.
The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres.
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