Prescribed Fires-East Everglades 5 and Hole in the Donut West

Photo collage of a prescribed fire in east everglades 5 and hole in the donut west.
Monitoring fire behavior during ignitions on East Everglades 5 prescribed fire in Everglades National Park, NPS.

Engine holds fire from crossing the fireline during a prescribed fire in Everglades National Park, NPS Photo.

Hand ignitions, using a drip torch, on the Hole in the Donut West prescribed fire in Everglades National Park, NPS.

Smoke rising from the Hole in the Donut West prescribed fire, NPS Photo.

Prescribed Fires Reduce Wildfire Risk, Improve Fuel Modeling, and Promote Native Plant Growth

Everglades National Park firefighters conduct prescribed fires as part of the park's resource management plans. In January 2015 two of these prescribed fires, totaling approximately 3700 acres, the East Everglades 5 (EE 5) and Hole in the Donut West (HID West) prescribed fires were carefully conducted during relatively wet conditions which aided fire staff in successfully completing the fire treatments.

The East Everglades 5 prescribed fire, approximately 2,169 acres burned, aimed to prevent future wildfires by removing vegetation build-up adjacent to Everglades National Park’s boundary and the Wildland Urban Interface of Miami-Dade County. Using well-planned prescribed fires to reduce accumulated dead plant material when conditions were relatively wet, reduces the risk of fast-moving, damaging dry season wildfires. Once burned under carefully prescribed conditions, these areas will provide effective fire breaks for dry season wildfires which can threaten life, property, and endangered species such as the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow.

The East Everglades 5 prescribed fire also aimed to improve fuel models used to predict fire behavior in tall grass prairie ecosystems. Everglades Fire Management is partnering with Missoula Fire Lab, United States Forest Service, to collect data before, during, and after the prescribed fire to use to improve our understanding of how fire behaves in the dynamic Everglades ecosystem.

The Hole in the Donut West (HID West) prescribed fire, approximately 1,531 acres burned, aimed to reduce hazardous vegetation accumulations while recycling nutrients used to stimulate new growth in native plants. Prescribed fire treatments, like HID West, consume dead and decaying vegetation and release nutrients that promote new growth, improve habitat, and increase food sources that did not occur prior to the fire.

Everglades Fire Management Officer, Rick Anderson said, “Our goal is to use prescribed fire to maintain species diversity, provide suitable habitat for plants and animals, and reduce the encroachment of undesired plants. The HID West project is a beautiful example of restoration using fire.”

More information on Everglades National Park Prescribed Fire.

Last updated: September 3, 2015

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