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SWFWMD performing prescribed burns in Manatee and Hillsborough Counties to reduce fire risk

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency last spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns in April and May on the Edward W. Chance Reserve – Gilley Creek Tract (Gilley Creek) and Flatford Swamp Preserve in Manatee County, and the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area (LHFDA) and the Chito Branch Reserve in Hillsborough County.

The Gilley Creek property is located between State Road 62 and State Road 64 and east of County Road 675, southeast of Parrish. The Flatford Swamp Preserve is located on Wauchula Myakka Road, south of State Road 64 and north of Myakka City. Approximately 574 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

The LHFDA is located south of Cross Creek Boulevard between U.S. Highway 301 and Morris Bridge Road near Thonotosassa. Chito Branch Reserve is located south of Boyette Road west of County Road 39 near Lithia. Approximately 635 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

  • Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
  • Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
  • Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
  • Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. To learn more about why igniting prescribed burns now prepares lands for the next wildfire season, view this video: