03/9/09 County Departments Work Together to Meet Prescribed Fire
County Departments Work Together to Meet Prescribed Fire Objectives on County Lands Since early December, 2008, twelve prescribed fires have been successfully conducted on nearly 325 acres at Lake Alto Preserve, Balu Forest, San Felasco County Park, and Phifer Flatwoods Preserve. These were among several prescribed fires planned for County lands during the winter burning season. The fires were prescribed to improve the ecological condition of pine forests within the Preserves and Park, and to reduce wildfire risk to neighboring residential and agricultural areas. Land managers from Alachua County Environmental Protection Department’s Land Conservation Program assisted with the operations of the prescribed fires under the leadership of Alachua County Public Safety Wildfire Mitigation Team. Historically most of Florida’s landscape was fire‐maintained. Over time as Florida’s population increased, natural fires were suppressed leading to an interruption in the natural fire regime. Natural areas became overgrown and more susceptible to severe wildfires. Prescribed fire, planned and carried out under very specific weather conditions, is a cost‐effective tool used to restore the native vegetation, improve wildlife habitat, and decrease the risk of severe wildfires on the wildland‐urban interface.