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January 3, 2007

The Southwest Florida Water Management District will be conducting “controlled, prescribed burns” during January and February on the Prairie-Shell Creek property. The Charlotte County site is west of U.S. Hwy. 17 and east of the Peace River, approximately 8 miles northeast of Punta Gorda. Approximately 125 acres of land will be burned in small, manageable units.

The scheduled, managed burns are a part of routine maintenance of lands managed by the District.

According to District Land Manager Kevin W. Love, burns are conducted to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The object is to avoid uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions allow the objectives to be met while minimizing possible impacts to the public.

Every effort will be made to ensure that smoke does not affect homes or highways. However, vehicle operators should exercise caution in case smoke does lead to reduced visibility on the area’s roads or highways.

To meet various water management needs, the District has acquired approximately 300,000 acres of environmentally sensitive and water resource related lands through the State’s Save Our Rivers and Preservation 2000 programs.

For more information, please call the District at (352) 796-7211 or 1 (800) 423-1476, ext. 4465.

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