District, FFS partnering on projects to reduce wildfire risk for Wedgefield community

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MAITLAND, Fla., Aug. 28, 2020 — The St Johns River Water Management District and the Florida Forest Service (FFS) are teaming up on a wildfire fuels mitigation project to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires along the boundary between Hal Scott Regional Preserve and Park and the Wedgefield community in Orange County.

The Wedgefield community, located adjacent to the Hal Scott property, participates in the national Firewise Communities fire prevention program for homeowners, and its Firewise Committee is actively engaged in the wildfire fuels mitigation project, expected to begin next week. The project will help reduce the wildfire risk for the homes located along Macon Parkway and Majestic Street.

The FFS Wildfire Mitigation Team will be using heavy equipment to mow overgrown vegetation to help protect Wedgefield homeowners from the threat of wildfire while enhancing the habitat within Hal Scott Regional Preserve and Park. The project will reduce the height and volume of vegetation that can fuel wildfires and will help provide firefighters with better access to the fire lines in the area should a wildfire occur. District land managers plan to follow up the mowing with a prescribed burn to provide further protection from wildfire and to enhance natural habitat.

In conjunction with the fuels mitigation project, the District is also replacing perimeter fencing located along the boundary in the same area. A District contractor began removing the barbed wire fencing during the week of Aug. 24-28 and will replace it with a new fence after the mowing work is completed in the adjacent area.

The projects are being conducted together to best facilitate heavy machinery working in the area without having to work around a fence that could potentially be damaged or cause damage to the machinery. The equipment will also be able to mow the path for the new fence to be built as straight as possible near the property boundary.

For more information about the purpose and benefits of wildfire fuel reduction projects, please visit www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/For-Communities/Firewise-USA/Wildfire-Fuel-Reduction.

For more information about the District’s land management activities, including prescribed fire and mechanical fuels treatments, visit www.sjrwmd.com/lands/management.

For more information about Wedgefield Firewise, visit https://wedgefieldhomeowners.com/about-firewise/.