Developer planning burn Thursday for new E. Naples community

Corey Perrine/Staff
Heavy equipment moves timber to be burned on Tamiami Trail East near the East Naples Library Friday, March 1, 2013 in Naples, Fla. Some residents have been complaining of smoke from the clearing of forest for a new community development. Minto Communities is clearing the 2,400 acres burning the trees causing fire, smoke and noise. According to their website, the new subdivision, The Isles of Collier Preserve, projects to open this fall.

Photo by COREY PERRINE // Buy this photo

Corey Perrine/Staff Heavy equipment moves timber to be burned on Tamiami Trail East near the East Naples Library Friday, March 1, 2013 in Naples, Fla. Some residents have been complaining of smoke from the clearing of forest for a new community development. Minto Communities is clearing the 2,400 acres burning the trees causing fire, smoke and noise. According to their website, the new subdivision, The Isles of Collier Preserve, projects to open this fall.

The developer of a massive new community in East Naples will start another kind of burning Thursday.

Minto Communities LLC has been burning to clear land near Thomasson Drive and farther east off U.S. 41, to make way for its housing project, named the Isles of Collier Preserve.

Now, it will be doing what’s described as prescribed burns, which will remove exotics from the site.

The prescribed burns will be done Thursday and Friday and there will be more of them next week. But there won’t be any started over the weekend, said William Bullock, a vice president for Minto in Florida.

“It’s part of our environmental permit requirements,” he said.

These types of fires are done often in Southwest Florida to prevent big fires, including at the nearby Rookery Bay Reserve. Without them, “if you did get a lightning strike it would be a problem,” Bullock said.

Prescribed burns can also benefit native wildlife by creating new food sources through regrowth.

The burning and smoke from Minto’s clearing over the past few weeks have irritated nearby residents, who have complained about the smell and the threat to wildlife. Minto has recently taken extra steps to minimize the impact from those fires on residents.

The prescribed burns were scheduled before nearby residents complained about the other burning, and they will be done at the back of the property on the southeast corner, farther from Thomasson, Bullock said.

“You might not even see it,” he said.

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