BAY COUNTY—The Florida Division of Forestry continues to educate the public on the benefits of prescribed fire as this week is recognized statewide as “Prescribed Fire Awareness Week.”
Prescribed fire, which is also sometimes called ‘controlled burning’, is a safe way to apply a natural process to reduce hazardous wildfire fuel buildups, thus providing increased protection to people, their homes, and the forest.
Prescribed fire also provides better forage for wildlife and livestock, returns nutrients to the soil, and helps to control certain plant diseases.
Newly elected Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam said last week that "Florida is the most progressive state in its use of prescribed fire to manage land," as he declared the fourth week in January as "Prescribed Fire Awareness Week."
Florida has the most extensive prescribed burning programs in the country.
There are currently more than 1,500 certified prescribed burn managers in Florida helping to prescribe burn more than 2.7 million acres of agricultural and natural lands annually.
"For 75 years, Florida's Division of Forestry has worked diligently to protect the forests of Florida from the dangers of wildland fire and to ensure our forests will be preserved for generations to come," Commissioner Putnam said.
"The Division of Forestry also plays an important role in educating the public of the value of Florida's state forests and the steps we must take to preserve this natural resource”.
In 1936, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Forestry began managing state lands with the establishment of Pine Log State Forest near Panama City.
Today, more than 1,250 dedicated employees across the state work together to manage 35 state forests, encompassing more than one million acres.