2016 Prescribed Burn

map of prescribed burn proposals

National Key Deer Refuge Plans 2016 Prescribed Burns for Big Pine Key

June 1, 2016

Contact: Kristie Killam 305-304-9625, kristie_killam@fws.gov Or Kate Watts 305-872- 2239 x 227, katherine_watts@fws.gov


Florida Keys Refuges Complex Prepares for Prescribed Fires on Big Pine Key

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to apply prescribed fire in three locations within the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key during late summer or fall, when weather conditions are within the fire plan know as a “prescription.” Prescribed fire in the Florida Keys Refuges is implemented by a highly qualified and trained staff of interagency professional fire specialists. The primary reasons for conducting these fires are to protect the urban-wildland interface from the over accumulation of fire fuels aimed at protection of our community private property and residents, and for ecological purposes aimed at emulating natural fire in the pine rocklands. This activity creates a defensible space between refuge lands and private property in order to prevent or reduce the threat of wildfires. Prescribed fires reduce natural fire fuels, thereby reducing the chance of unwanted severe wildfires. Restoration and maintenance of the pine rockland habitat is essential for a healthy, fire-dependent ecosystem. The continued survival of important local species such as the federally endangered Bartram’s hairstreak butterfly and its host plant, the pineland croton is dependent upon fire. Limited mechanized methods may also be used to mimic fire and restore pineland croton habitat in areas that are too overgrown or too close to private property to safely conduct prescribed fire activities.

Community updates, up to and including when actual prescribed fire dates are proposed and when a fire actually occurs, will be announced through local print and radio press releases, our Facebook page and roadside advisory signs. Visitors and residents can find maps of proposed burn areas, in the Refuge Visitor Center located at 179 Key Deer Blvd, Big Pine Key (in the Big Pine shopping plaza across from Winn Dixie; Mon-Fri 9am -4pm, Sat 10 am-3 pm) and at our website http://www.fws.gov/nationalkeydeer/.

For more information, please contact Kristie Killam at 305-872-0774 or Kate Watts at 305-872-2239 x227 and follow Refuge updates on our website and Facebook page:




The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation, and support local economies. Visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov/refuges/. 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/.