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October 12, 2007

The Southwest Florida Water Management District will be conducting “controlled, prescribed burns” during the remaining days of October and November for two District sites in Sarasota County the Schewe Ranch and the Deer Prairie Creek properties.

Both tracts are located to the north and south of I-75 between mile markers 186 and 190, with U.S. Hwy. 41 as its far southern boundary. The property is also located between the Myakka River and the cities of North Port and Warm Mineral Springs. There is the potential to burn more than 750 acres of land in small, manageable units.

Controlled burns of particular interest in this area include burning near North Port and Warm Mineral Springs because these burns will be taking place close to homes and the interstate. These burns are done to protect the residential areas from wildfires or other human-related fires that may get out of control.

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 implemented 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 impacts to the public.

Every effort will be made to ensure that smoke will 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.

The District owns and manages approximately 350,000 acres of environmentally sensitive lands for water resource and natural systems protection.

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

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