This week is Prescribed Fire Awareness Week in Florida.
Prescribed Fire Awareness Week is a time the state uses to draw attention to the state’s practice of doing controlled burns on Florida's nearly 17 million acres of public forestland.
Prescribed fire uses slow-moving, low-grade fire to reduce the brush and overgrowth that would otherwise serve as fuel for a dangerous wildfire.
Besides cutting down on hazardous ground fuels, prescribed fires return nutrients to the soil, provide better forage for wildlife and livestock, and help control certain plant and tree diseases.
People who own forest land and are interested in adding prescribed fire to their land management practices can get state assistance in doing so.
In an average year, the Florida Forest Service issues about 90,000 prescribed burning authorizations.
In addition, there are currently more than 1,600 certified prescribed burn managers in Florida that manage more than 2.3 million acres of agricultural and natural lands annually with prescribed fire.
And Florida has an app that lets you keep up with controlled burns around the state.
Floridians can download the Florida Forest Service’s “FLBurnTools” app to access an interactive fire map that shows prescribed burns, smoke dispersion models, drought information and wildfire conditions in real-time.
Prescribed burn practitioners can also use the app to plan and submit authorization requests.