Created By: Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center
You heard about the wildfire that happened here at Stop #6, but what about prescribed fire? Prescribed fires occur when land managers purposefully set the land on fire under very specific conditions. Why would we need to conduct prescribed fires if wildfires are happening naturally? Great question! While wildfires are a natural part of Florida’s ecosystems, we are not. As more and more people moved to Florida and developed the natural lands there was greater concern when wildfires did occur because people’s lives and homes were now at risk. Over time, land management efforts changed from allowing wildfires to burn, to working on how to put them out. For fire to occur, there must be three elements: heat, fuel and oxygen. When wildfires were put out instead of allowing them to burn, remaining vegetation was able to grow and dead material (leaves, downed tree and branches) would accumulate, becoming a major source of fuel. A lot of fuel can lead to a bad wildfire. So, how do we keep fuel levels low? You guessed it! With prescribed fire. In addition to keeping fuel levels low, prescribed fires help control invasive species, allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor, maintain certain fire-dependent ecosystems and associated plants and animals, open densely vegetated areas for wildlife movement, and help to cycle nutrients into the soil and eventually the plants.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Friends Trail Walking Tour