Closure expected Monday at Thomas O. Lawton Recreation Area for controlled burn

PALM BAY, Fla., March 18, 2016 — A 9,000-acre prescribed fire at Three Forks Marsh Conservation Area in Brevard County is expected to temporarily close Thomas O. Lawton Recreation Area — including the boat ramp — to public use for safety reasons on Monday, March 21. The burn’s purpose is wildfire fuel reduction and maintenance of fire-dependent ecosystems.

The St. Johns River Water Management District will conduct the burn only if weather conditions are correct for controlling the fire and minimizing the impacts of smoke to residents and traffic.

Prescribed fire is the use of carefully planned fire purposefully set under stringent conditions to control the fire’s effects. Its benefits include restoring and maintaining natural communities, reducing chances of destructive wildfires, perpetuating fire-adapted plants and animals, cycling nutrients, controlling tree diseases, and opening scenic vistas. Prescribed fires help prevent wildfires by burning off fuels that naturally build up over time, while also helping to control the growth of woody shrubs.

Updates on the planned prescribed fire will be available on the district’s Twitter and Facebook page. An updated release will also be sent out Monday to confirm ignition of the fire if weather conditions are favorable.