ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - In recognition of Prescribed Fire Awareness Week (March 7-13, 2010), the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department's Alachua County Forever Program and the Alachua County Department of Public Safety are partnering with Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is presenting "Fire Fest 2010: A Prescribed Fire Awareness Festival." Other partners include the Florida Park Service, Florida Division of Forestry, The Nature Conservancy, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Alachua Conservation Trust, and the USDA Forest Service.
The event will be held on Sunday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park's main entrance, on Hwy 441 in Micanopy. Activities include a visit from Smokey Bear, fire equipment demonstrations, displays from area fire professionals, movies, and more.
Visitors can explore fire stations around the park to learn more about prescribed fire, its importance to Florida's plants, animals, and ecosystems, and its critical role in wildfire prevention. Visitors will receive a Fire Fest passport to be stamped at each station as you travel the world of prescribed fire.
Prescribed fire is the use of carefully planned fire purposefully set under stringent conditions to control the fire's effect. Prescribed fire in Florida is an important and valuable land management tool used in parks, preserves, forests, and agricultural lands. Periodic "prescribed fires" (also known as controlled burns) are the only means land managers have to meet the needs of many plants and animals while also reducing the threat of property damage from wildfires. An average of almost 2 million acres across Florida are treated with prescribe fire each year.
The entrance fee for Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is $6 per car.
For more information, contact Park Services Specialist Andi Christman at 352-466-4966 or Andrea.Christman@dep.state.fl.us.