Smoke cloud from prescribed burn hovers over south Lee County

— A controlled burn at Estero Bay Preserve State Park caused alarm for some area residents today.

According to Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials, the controlled burn consisted of approximately 55 acres in the state park.

Prescribed fires are only conducted when weather parameters are suitable and the final decision to burn is made daily, after reviewing the Predicted Fire Weather forecast for that particular day and in coordination with local fire officials, said DEP spokeswoman Jessica Kemper Sims in a written statement.

Prescribed burning mimics natural fire cycles to restore natural communities, reduce undergrowth that accumulates over time and decreases the potential for wildfire. Burned lands experience an increase in native wildflowers, birds and other wildlife.

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