Protecting Florida's Forests with the State Fire Assistance Program

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

With support from the State Fire Assistance program of the USDA Forest Service, the Florida Forest Service is achieving goals outlined in its Forest Action Plan.

In 2014 the Florida Forest Service protected 2.5 million acres of public and private forestland through prescribed fires.

214,000 acres of state lands were treated with prescribed fire, the second highest number in Florida Forest Service History.

The Florida Forest Service oversees the most active prescribed fire program in the country. During FY 2014, the Florida Forest Service reports that more than 2.5 million Florida acres were treated with prescribed fire, one of the highest numbers ever reported by any state agency in the country. 

Through cooperative efforts between the Florida Forest Service, private landowners, and other state and federal agencies, prescribed fire has helped reduce hazardous buildup of flammable vegetation resulting in increased safety for surrounding areas. Other benefits include disease control in young pines, habitat improvement for wildlife, range management, and preservation of endangered plant and animal species such as the Pot-of-Gold and Catesby’s lilies, White Top Pitcher Plants and several species of rare orchids, including the Yellow Fringeless Orchid found on the Blackwater River State Forest.    

“During the 2014 Fiscal Year, we were fortunate to experience many days with conditions favorable for prescribed fire,” said Jim Karels, State Forester.  “Conditions can change quickly and drastically in Florida, so it is our responsibility to take advantage of these favorable conditions whenever they are present.”

The Florida Forest Service regularly manages its one million acres of state forest lands with prescribed fire while also conducting or authorizing prescribed burns on other public and private lands. During FY 2014, the Florida Forest Service treated more than 214,000 acres of state forest lands with prescribed fire, the second highest number of state forest acres treated with prescribed fire in Florida Forest Service history.

Private and Public landowners, including the Florida Forest Service, treated 2.5 million Florida acres with prescribed fire, one of the highest numbers ever reported by any state agency in the country.

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