Tallahassee, FL – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam stressed the importance of prescribed fire burns in maintaining the health of Florida’s forest lands and preventing devastating wildfires. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service will promote the benefits of prescribed fire burns during Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, January 27 through February 2.
“Prescribed fire is a safe way to reduce hazardous fuels on Florida’s forest lands,” said Commissioner Adam Putnam. “When ignited, hazardous fuels can lead to or exacerbate wildfires. By reducing buildup of hazardous fuels with prescribed burns, we’re decreasing the risk of devastating wildfire and protecting thousands of home and business owners across Florida.”
Prescribed fire burning, also known as controlled burning, not only reduces hazardous fuel buildups, but also ensures a healthy ecosystem.
“Prescribed fire burning provides better forage for wildlife and livestock, returns nutrients to the soil and helps to control certain plant diseases,” said Jim Karels, director of the Florida Forest Service.
Florida is the nation’s leader in prescribed burns. The Florida Forest Service manages the most extensive prescribed burning program in the nation and offers a prescribed burn manager certification process for frequent burners. There are currently more than 1,600 certified prescribed burners in Florida helping to prescribe burn more than 2.3 million acres of agricultural and natural lands annually.
In 2011, the Florida Cabinet, in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service, designated the fourth Sunday in January as the start of “Prescribed Fire Awareness Week.”
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.