District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires in the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve

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 June through September at the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve, which includes the Green Swamp East Tract in Polk, Sumter and Lake counties, the Hampton Tract in Polk County, and the Green Swamp West Tract in Pasco County.

The Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve is located north of U.S. Highway 98 along Highway 471 and Rockridge Road between Lakeland and Dade City. Approximately 11,800 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some primary benefits of prescribed fire include:

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

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