Five-acre prescribed burn underway in Collier County today

The Florida Division of Forestry is conducting a five-acre prescribed burn this morning in Collier County in Picayune Strand State Forest between Everglades and DeSoto boulevards, south of 52nd Avenue.

Not much smoke is expected because it's such a small burn, said Victor Hill, wildlife mitigation specialist with the Caloosahatchee Forestry Center in Fort Myers.

Forestry division work crews are conducting a series of small burns to ensure that rangers are up-to-speed for when they have opportunities to conduct larger prescribed fires.

Prescribed burns are conducted, as conditions permit, to reduce dense vegetation, often in areas where people live. Fire is as much a part of Florida as hurricane season, but wildfire often poses dangers to homes and businesses in the state's dry season. Controlled burns help to better protect residents. They also promote diversity of wildlife in the area such as scrub jays and gopher tortoises.

In this specific case, it’s an opportunity to train in an isolated area well away from any homes, Hill said.

Other reasons for prescribed burns are to increase the amount of water a wetlands can hold and to help out the wildlife that needs less dense vegetation to feed. And after a burn, the vegetation often grows back greener.

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