Interest in prescribed fire gets ignited during Prescribed Fire Fest

On a lovely day during Florida Prescribed Fire Awareness week, children and adults alike turned out at Lake Conservation Park and were equally awed to see first-hand how professionals strategically set fires to protect life and land from the ravages of wildfire.

Children tried on gear wildland firefighters use to do their job, saw a sandbox demonstration on how prescribed fire is used, climbed on a firefighting helicopter, and saw brush trucks up close that are used for extinguishing fires. They also viewed other tools of the trade and talked with the professionals who manage conservation lands.

The finale of the first Prescribed Fire Fest in more than five years was the demonstration and setting of an actual prescribed fire.

The event was hosted by Hillsborough County Conservation & Environmental Lands Management to build awareness and understanding of prescribed fire among Hillsborough County residents.

Fighting fire with fire is more than an old idiom; it's a time-honored land management tactic that's been in use for centuries. Prescribed Fire Fest is a family-friendly way to show the benefits of prescribed fire.

All of Florida's natural habitats have evolved over thousands of years with the help of fire. Without prescribed fire in today's world, these habitats would become overgrown and lose many of their natural characteristics.

County residents who live near preserves and conservation lands should rest assured that while the sight of smoke can be alarming, the reduction in forest fuel that results from prescribed burning also helps to protect property from the threat of wildfires.

Prescribed burning also helps the land retain nutrients that nourish the new plant life that takes root in the burned areas. The elimination of overgrowth gives way to new growth. Prescribed fire is the orchestrated rejuvenation of conservation lands.

Another benefit of prescribed burning is the control of disease and pests among forest vegetation.

Unlike uncontrolled wildfire, prescribed fire is rarely harmful to wildlife.

To learn more about prescribed fire visit HCFL.gov/RxFire.