Prescribed Burning Season in North Central Florida
If you've smelled smoke in your area recently, it may not be a bad thing. Winter is prescribed burning season and since January first more than one thousand authorized burns have burned over 15-thousand acres in North Central Florida. Wildfire activity has been pretty quiet and fire officials want to keep it that way.
"Not all fire is bad," says Rick Dolan of Florida Division of Forestry.
Rick Dolan from the Florida Divison of Forestry says that prescribed burns are essential to the ecosystem.
"Before we were all here, fires burned all over the state and we try to mimic that with prescribed burning. it's healthy for the forest and ecosystem," he says.
Dolan says that during the winter months many prescribed burns are authorized. and in recent weeks, the weather conditions have been favorable for this type of burning.
"People are trying to take advantage of the recent rainfall that we've had over the last couple of weeks, but it it tends to dry out very quickly. when you have the windy days, low humidity days, the water tends to disperse very fast.," he says.
"We like to have a little bit of wind, but not a very strong wind. wind helps push the fire through the unit. It helps keep it going" says Lori Hazel Wildfire Mitigation Specialist.
Fire officials say that in late march and early april the winds often pick up and thunderstorms return to the forecast.That's when the types of fires will start to change.
"There is a fine balance between active prescribed burning and active wild fire season.," says Dolan.
"It could be bad because we've had a lot of frost and lot of killed vegetation," says Hazel.
Fire officials predict another above active fire season this year. they say although we've received more rain recently, it's just not enough to make up for a three year rain deficit.
"Just be careful," says Hazel.
Because even though not all fire is bad... it is when it gets out of control. Lindsay Milbourne TV 20 News
If you have questions regarding whether it is safe to burn or not contact the Division of Forestry or Fire Rescue.
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