The Florida Forest Service, Withlacoochee Forestry Center in conjunction with the Southwest Florida Water Management District is planning a large aerial prescribed burn for Thursday and Friday February 13th & 14th, 2020 on state lands. The prescribed fire could be between 4,000 acres to 8,000 acres per day over two days in the Richloam Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest and the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. The time of aerial ignition will be between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Two Florida Forest Service helicopters and staff from various agencies will be assigned to the prescribed burn.
The prescribed fire will be adjacent to SR 471 from the Polk/Sumter County Line to 2 miles south of SR 50. Smoke from the large aerial burn may be visible from US 301 which is approximately 7 miles west of the planned burn and SR 33 which is approximately 13 miles to the east of this area. Implementation/Execution of this burn will be weather dependent, and notifications will be posted in advance.
During the burn SR 471 will be closed between SR 50 and US 98/SR 700, except for local traffic. Traffic will be detoured to US 301.
The Florida Forest Service and Southwest Florida Water Management will be using prescribed fire to reduce or eliminate hazardous fuels that could lead to a catastrophic wildfire. Reducing hazardous fuels with the use of prescribed burning increases public safety from the damaging impacts from wildfires and the safety of wildland firefighters as they respond to suppress those wildfires .
Please follow our Facebook page @FFSWITHLACOOCH and Twitter @FFS_Withlacooch for updated information on prescribed fires. Some precautions you can take on the day of the Prescribed Fire:
- Pay attention to news coverage and updates on the prescribed fire.
- Stay indoors if you have respiratory problems, close windows and bring pets indoors.
- If you encounter smoke on the road; reduce speed, increase following distance, turn your low-beam headlights on.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FDACS.gov/FLForestService.