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TALLAHASSEE - In recognition of Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, March 7-13, 2010, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida State Parks reminds citizens and visitors of the importance of prescribed fire, also known as controlled burning, in preserving, interpreting and restoring Florida’s natural resources.
“The Florida state park system’s prescribed fire program has made great strides in the last 75 years,” said Florida Park Service Director Mike Bullock. “Prescribed fire helps to restore and maintain …the Real FloridaSM that provides affordable, nature-based recreation to more than 21.4 million visitors annually.”
Created by the Florida Legislature in 1935, DEP’s Florida Park Service is charged with maintaining representative samples of the original domain of Florida for the enjoyment and use of the Florida’s citizens and visitors. The critical role that fire plays in sustaining many of the earth’s ecosystems is now widely recognized. Many of Florida’s ecosystems are fire-adapted systems that require frequent prescribed fire to maintain these natural areas in good health. Prescribed fire also protects state park neighbors from the threat of uncontrolled wildfires by reducing potential fuel for wildfires.
Of the Florida Park Service’s 160 parks, 110 require frequent prescribed fire management and encompass 260,000 of 700,000 total acres managed. Many of these areas need to be burned as frequently as every two to three years for the health of the many plants and animals dependent on fire-adapted natural areas.
Throughout 2010, DEP’s Florida State Parks will celebrate 75 years of recreation and preservation. Florida State Parks will host special activities and interpretive events from coast to coast, including 25 signature events which highlight individual parks’ histories, as well as the history of the state park system as a whole. While taking the opportunity to enjoy recreational activities at a state park notice the positive effects of the prescribed fire program underway at many of the parks.
Florida State Parks has grown from eight to 160 parks over the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida's natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation's first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation's best park service.
"The Florida state park system’s prescribed fire program has made great strides in the last 75 years."
Last updated: March 12, 2010