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Prescribed Fire

USFWS firefighter on controlled burnPrescribed fires maintain and restore vegetation in natural areas while reducing the risk of damaging wildfire to land and property. 


Before there were roads, canals, modern agriculture, or big cities, lightning-set fires frequently swept almost unimpeded across Florida's landscape. Over thousands of years, many native habitats evolved under the influence of fire, and now depend on it.


In modern times, fire has been increasingly excluded from natural lands, causing a dramatic decline in the extent and condition of fire-dependent habitats. As a result, many unique plants and animals needing these habitats are disappearing and flammable vegetation has accumulated to unnaturally high and hazardous levels in many areas. We are actively working to restore and maintain fire-dependent habitats, and to reduce the likelihood of destructive wildfires. Our primary tool is prescribed burning, with which we mimic lightning fires by carefully reintroducing fire according to detailed control plans called "prescriptions". 


The goals of refuge prescribed fires are to:

  • improve or restore wildlife habitat
  • reduce the likelihood of wildfires by reducing hazardous fuel loads
  • reduce woody vegetation such as willow, wax myrtle, and exotic species that invade marshes
  • replenish nutrients to the soil
Last Updated: Aug 14, 2013
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