Controlled burn today at Newnans Lake Conservation Area in Alachua County

PALATKA, Fla., March 15, 2016 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 130-acre prescribed fire today on the Hatchet Creek Tract of the Newnans Lake Conservation Area in Alachua County, north of State Road 26. The purpose of today’s burn is to reduce hazardous fuels and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems.

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.

Before conducting a burn, the district ensures that wind and other weather conditions are correct for controlling the fire and minimizing the impacts of smoke to residents and traffic.