Prescribed Burns


Here at College of Arts and Sciences, we take pride in the conservation lands we steward. We deploy a range of land management techniques to preserve the ecological health and biodiversity of Florida’s unique ecosystems. These techniques include prescribed burns to control woody vegetation and promote the growth of fire-adapted native plants. Other techniques like mechanical removal help us manage invasive species on the property. 

Education and outreach initiatives engage the surrounding community, while wildlife management strategies support the protection and propagation of native species.  

Sandhill habitat restoration is a multifaceted undertaking that combines several land management techniques, supported by scientific expertise and community involvement, to ensure the sustained health and biodiversity of these exceptional ecosystems. 

Prescribed fires are designed to allow animals to escape. A variety of small animals find refuge underground in gopher tortoise burrows. Others take shelter in wetlands or move into the surrounding forest. They return to a healthier environment. 

forest burn

smoke from burn

Prescribed fire is one of the most versatile and cost-effective tools land managers can use in Florida. Prescribed fire is used to reduce hazardous fuel buildups, which provides increased protection to people, their homes and the forest. Other uses include disease control in young pines, wildlife habitat improvement, range management, preservation of endangered plant and animal species and the maintenance of fire-dependent ecosystems like the Florida sandhill. 

Prescribed fire is an indispensable tool for the maintenance and restoration of healthy sandhill habitats. These prescribed burns support biodiversity, control invasive species, manage woody vegetation, enhance the habitat's resilience to wildfires, and contribute to the scientific understanding of this unique ecosystem. Well-maintained sandhill habitats are less prone to catastrophic, uncontrolled wildfires because the fuel load has been consistently reduced through prescribed fire. By embracing prescribed fire as a crucial element of land management, we ensure the long-term health of our sandhill habitat and the many species that depends on it. 

We take our prescribed fire seriously. After decades of irregular prescribed fire, the Forest Preserve now has a designated Prescribed Burn Team. Burning in Florida is governed by Chapter 590, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 5I-2, Florida Administrative Code and we go above and beyond to exceed safety and compliance for prescribed burns in Florida. 

Prescribed burning is a collaborative effort between land stewards, local municipalities, local emergency services, and the Florida Forest Service.  

truck and equipment at burn

burn fighter

These fires are designed to allow animals to escape. Animals can easily move out of the small burn units we’ve created and if some small animals choose to stay, the gopher tortoise burrows in the sandhill habitat become a refuge. After the fire, they return to a healthier environment. 
Our prescribed fires are also designed with the surrounding community in mind because we want to be good neighbors. We keep our burn plots limited to a few acres each to minimize smoke. We also work to educate the surrounding communities on prescribed burning and provide notification to those who need to be aware of burning dates. Whether you have a health concern or might have a conflicting event nearby, if you’d like to be notified of prescribed burn activity, please submit this Prescribed Burn Notification Sign Up Form.  

Additional Resources