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UF/IFAS to Help Educate Public About Prescribed Fires

By Kim Scotto

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s Flatwoods Fire and Nature Festival is set to ignite on Jan. 26 with prescribed fire demonstrations, fire ecology tours, live wildlife, live music, food trucks, interactive educational exhibits and activities for all-ages at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Austin Cary Forest.

The free, family-friendly event is presented by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation, the Florida Forest Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Alachua Conservation Trust, St. Johns River Water Management District and many other agencies and organizations from Florida and neighboring states.

Chris Demers, UF/IFAS Extension program manager for the Florida Forest Stewardship Program, said SFRC and its partners are coordinating the event to help increase local knowledge and understanding of prescribed fire as a land management tool.

“Prescribed fire is applied to millions of acres in the South each year to achieve various agricultural, forestry and wildlife management objectives,” Demers said “It’s a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health and actually reduce wildfire risk.”

The Saturday event kicks off Florida Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, which starts Jan. 27.

“There can be misconceptions about fire science, so education and awareness are key,” Demers said “Festival attendees will see a prescribed burn in action and learn about each step in the process, as well as getting to explore the equipment used, including a wildland fire truck.”

The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UF/IFAS Austin Cary Forest located off Waldo Road, about 6 miles north of Gainesville, at 10625 NE Waldo Road, Gainesville, FL 32609. The rain date is Feb. 2.

For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/FireFest2019

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By: Kim Scotto, 352-294-7018,  kscotto@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

 

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