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November 30, 2007

The Southwest Florida Water Management District will be conducting “controlled, prescribed burns” during December on the District’s Halpata Tastanaki Preserve. The property is approximately six miles east of Dunnellon. The scheduled, managed burns are a part of routine maintenance of lands managed by the District. Approximately 1,000 acres of land will be burned in small, manageable units.

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.

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.

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