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~The Florida Park Service plans to apply prescribed fire to 105,000 acres across the state this year~

Fakahatchee Strand State Park

Prescribed fire at Fakahatchee Strand State Park successfully burned more than 6,000 acres.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is celebrating Prescribed Fire Awareness Week this week to recognize the important role fire plays in protecting Florida’s natural communities. Many of Florida’s ecosystems require fire at regular intervals to maintain diversity. Prescribed fire is also a safe way to ensure ecosystem health while reducing wildfire risk.

“One of DEP's strategic goals is to improve the quality of natural resources through long-term planning, restoration and maintenance, and prescribed fire is an important land management tool,” said DEP Secretary Jon Steverson. “I am proud to say that we have invested more funding to conduct land management over the last two years than we have in the previous 10. It’s time to get to work and restore Florida’s incredible ecosystems that haven’t seen fire in decades.”

Prescribed burning, which is guided by detailed plans and must be conducted by specially trained staff, is an important land-management activity that benefits many of the nearly 800,000 acres entrusted to the Florida State Park system. In fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17, the state of Florida has invested more than $26 million for resource management in state parks, allowing the Florida Park Service to set lofty goals for prescribed fire. This fiscal year, the Florida Park Service plans to apply prescribed fire to 105,000 acres across Florida – more than any previous year. 

Earlier this fiscal year, the Florida Park Service, in collaboration with the Florida Forest Service, conducted a prescribed fire that successfully burned 6,000 acres at Fakahatchee Strand State Park – the largest prescribed fire in Florida State Park history! The Florida Park Service had 22 crew members on-site using a variety of fire engines, vehicles and equipment to ensure the fire was safely controlled both by land and air.

Prescribed fires are only conducted by highly trained and professional staff and only when weather conditions are suitable. To learn more about the role of prescribed fire, visit