Controlled burn today at the Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve in Alachua County

PALATKA, Fla., April 21, 2016 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is conducting a 170-acre prescribed burn today at the Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve in Alachua County. The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel loads and maintain fire-dependent natural communities.

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.