District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Pasco County

News Release

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in 2017.

That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns now through March at the following Pasco County properties:

  • Cypress Creek Preserve
  • Conner Preserve
  • Starkey Wilderness Preserve
  • Upper Hillsborough Preserve
  • Weekiwachee Preserve

Cypress Creek Preserve is located east of Ehren Cutoff and south of State Road 52. Approximately 115 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Conner Preserve is located west of Ehren Cutoff and south of State Road 52.

Approximately 500 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Starkey Wilderness Preserve is located east of New Port Richey, west of the Suncoast Parkway, north of State Road 54 and south of State Road 52. Approximately 800 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Upper Hillsborough Preserve is located south of the County Road 54 and east of Chancey Road in Zephyrhills. Approximately 320 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Weekiwachee Preserve is located north of Hudson, west of U.S. Highway 19 and includes the Aripeka Sandhills tract. Approximately 25 acres will be burned in small, manageable units. Some trails may be temporarily closed during prescribed burn events.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

  • Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires.
  • Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants.
  • Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat.
  • Maintaining access for public recreation.

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year.

Click here to see aerial footage from a prescribed fire in the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve where District land management staff burned 320 acres.

 

 

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