Burning starts Monday at Guana Reserve

Historic City News in St Augustine was advised by Emily Jane Murray that the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve is planning an ecological prescribed burn in the coastal strand on the west side of South Ponte Vedra Boulevard beginning tomorrow.

The controlled burns will continue along SR-A1A through early September, weather permitting. The prescribed burn will reintroduce the natural fire cycle to the ecosystems around the Guana River.

“Burning will be located within the coastal strand and scrub between Guana Lake and South A1A,” Murray told reporters. “The units to be burned will extend from Guana River Road north to the North Beach Parking Lot.”

Fires play an important role in promoting new growth in natural communities. The resulting ash provides nutrients that foster new growth.

These nine separate units average about 30 acres each. Murray said they would be burned, one at a time, over the next few months. The total proposed area includes 288.5 acres.

Residents of adjacent areas will see and possibly smell smoke from the fire.

Prescribed burning activities may temporarily inconvenience boaters, as well as motorists.

The Reserve has mowed a strip of the vegetation along the highway to significantly reduce the radiant heat and flame heights as well as minimize the potential for property damage.

“The main purpose of our prescribed fire program is to reduce fuel loads and manage wildlife habitat,” said Resource Management Coordinator Joe Burgess. “Periodic prescribed burns help to lessen the chances of wildfires by reducing the vegetation and dry debris that serves as fuel.”

Trained and experienced fire personnel have placed firebreaks around the area to contain the flames. Fire suppression equipment, staffed by the Reserve’s partner agencies, will be on site during the burning activity.

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