Timucuan Preserve Media Advisory
Park Plans Prescribed Fire at Cedar Point
For Immediate Release - January 31, 2009
Richard Bryant, 904 221-7567 x15
Timucuan Preserve, in partnership with the Florida Division of Forestry, The Nature Conservancy, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida State parks and the City of Jacksonville, is planning a 140-acre controlled burn in the week or weeks following Monday, February 2, 2009.
The Cedar Point Prescribed Fire will reduce a hazardous build-up of brush and shrubs at the southern end of Black Hammock Island. Burning under specific weather conditions will allow firefighters to reduce the chances of a more dangerous accidental ignition during a time of more severe fire danger. The burn will also help restore the pine flatwood ecosystem, which depends on fire to reduce competition from other plants.
On the day of the burn, access to the southern end of Cedar Point Road will be restricted to residents only. The burn will take one day to complete. The area to be treated is a former pine plantation and has been prepared for this prescribed fire by cutting a perimeter of vegetation to create fire breaks. In addition, on the day of the actual burn at least two fire engines, a bulldozer with a fire plow, a helicopter and a minimum of 18 firefighters will be on site, with large pre-positioned water tanks.
Smoke, like fire, is a natural part of Florida’s ecosystem. The weather conditions required for the Cedar Point Prescribed Fire should disperse the majority of smoke before sundown on the day of the burn. However, some smoldering is expected to last during the night and smoke may be evident for several days after the burn.
According to Timucuan Preserve Fire Management Officer Richard Bryant, “This burn is a big event to Timucuan as this is the first prescribed fire at Cedar Point. This first burn will be a cooperative effort, with half a dozen agencies working together to get the fire completed safely.”
The exact date of the burn will depend on weather. The burn plan calls for very precise conditions, including recent rain, that will maximize safety for firefighters and the general public while still achieving the goals of reducing hazardous fuels and restoring natural ecological processes.