Prescribed Fire Program

Florida has one of the highest rates of lightning strikes in the world. For thousands of years, lightning caused low-intensity fires to burn across the landscape as often as every two years. Native Americans and European Settlers burned to improve hunting and cattle grazing. With a long history of fire, most of Florida’s plants and animals are adapted to survive fire, and many depend on it as a critical part of their lives. Now, with fewer fires, habitats change quickly, and many once-common species have disappeared from large areas where they used to thrive.

To provide habitat for fire-dependent species and reduce wildfire risk, the Nature Operations Division uses prescribed fire in several Nature Parks. Burns are done using a prescription specifying the weather, personnel, and equipment, so that burns are as safe as possible, with minimal smoke impacts to the community. Each member of the burn team is trained as a wildland firefighter, and the City works with the Florida Division of Forestry, Alachua County Fire Rescue, and other agencies for support.