A prescribed burn is the intentional, controlled burning of vegetation by resource management professionals. Though prescribed burns might initially seem destructive, they actually help keep ecosystems in balance and keep people and their property safe from the truly destructive effects of wildfires.1
Both wildlife and plants benefit from prescribed burns in Florida. This is because fire helps restore conditions to which plants and animals are best adapted.1 For example, the Florida scrub jay, which is endangered, relies on fires to maintain the scrubby areas it calls home. Without fires, trees grow too tall, compromising the bird’s habitat.2
Because prescribed burns produce smoke, people might worry about their impact on local air quality. However, prescribed burns are regulated by the state and are only performed under the right conditions.3 For example, prescribed burns are not performed on windy days1 or when there are other burns going on nearby.3 These precautions help keep smoke within air quality standards.3
For more on prescribed burns in Florida, see fireinflorida.ifas.ufl.edu.
- Martin B. Main and George W. Tanner, Effects of Fire on Florida’s Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat, WEC137, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2012, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw132
- Steve A. Johnson, Karl E. Miller, and Travis Blunden, The Florida Scrub-Jay: A Species in Peril, WEC261, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2012, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw306
- Martha C. Monroe, Adam C. Watts, and Leda N. Kobziar, Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke: Air Quality and Prescribed Burning in Florida, FOR62, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2013, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr058
UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones