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Monday, April 15, 2024

1,700-acre prescribed burn underway in Ocala National Forest

A 1,700-acre prescribed burn is currently underway in the Ocala National Forest, and anyone traveling in the area is urged to use caution.

Beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 29, the Ocala National Forest’s fire management team will use hand-held torches and aircraft to start small fires in strategic areas.

According to the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in Florida, the location of the prescribed burn is “east of Longleaf Trail, northwest of Lake Delancy, and south of FSR 66-5.9B, in Marion County.”

All motorists, bicyclists, and hikers around the forest are urged to pay extra attention to signs in the area. Be prepared to stop and turn around, watch out for animals near the road, and do not enter the prescribed burn areas.

A prescribed burn is the controlled application of fire by a team of fire experts under specified weather conditions. The purpose of the burn is to restore health to ecosystems that depend on fire.

“Many plants and trees need fire to grow and thrive,” stated the U.S. Forest Service on social media. “And burning away excess or invasive vegetation helps prevent bigger and more dangerous wildfires in the future!”

The U.S. Forest Service added that its interagency fire team conducts “smoke checks” to ensure public and forest fire safety around the clock. If you witness any smoke or fire emergencies in or around the forests, the organization asks that you call 911.

For more information, visit the U.S. Forest Service’s Fire Management webpage.