Historic City News readers in the area of the Guana River Wildlife Management Area should prepare for some inconveniences during the upcoming 2012-2013 prescribed fire season; according to Public Information Coordinator Joy M. Hill, for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Northeast Region.
Because while the burns are in progress, and for many hours afterward, there is the potential for smoke along nearby roads, including SR-A1A, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission cautions motorists to drive slowly with lights on while traveling in smoky areas.
“People who are sensitive to smoke may contact the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 352-732-1225 and ask to be placed on a notification list for future burns at Guana River Wildlife Management Area,” Hill told local reporters. “These controlled burns improve habitat for various wildlife species — including imperiled species.”
Wildlife biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in St Johns County plan to burn more than 1,800 acres in the Wildlife Management Area under authority of permits issued by the Florida Forest Service.
Controlled burns reduce the risk and hazards of wildfires. They are also a land manager’s tool to control invasive and exotic vegetation, control plant diseases affecting native vegetation, enhance native ground cover plants and seed production, and restore and maintain fire-dependent ecological sites.
“There are more than 22 burns scheduled this winter at Guana River Wildlife Management Area,” Hill told Historic City News. “Biologists specially trained to safely conduct these controlled fires carefully watch the weather conditions, which must meet specific criteria, before conducting a burn.”