Prescribed burn planned on Lake Okeechobee

OKEECHOBEE — Two prescribed burns will be conducted on Lake Okeechobee on Tuesday, March 5, starting at 10 a.m. The first will burn an estimated 5,000-8,000 acres between the Pearce Canal and Indian Prairie Canal. The second will burn approximately 850 acres in the Twin Palms/Dyess Ditch area. Both burns will improve fish and wildlife habitat on the lake.

These burns will be done as a joint effort by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), with SFWMD acting as the prescribed burn manager and the FWC and Florida Forest Service (FFS) assisting.

To help protect public health and safety, the agencies plan to conduct the prescribed burn under weather conditions that minimize smoke impacts to nearby towns and roads. Access to navigational trails through the marsh may be limited temporarily during the burns for safety reasons. If the prescribed burns need to be rescheduled due to weather conditions, the burns will be conducted later in the week.

Application of prescribed burning is part of an integrated management approach on Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest lake. Lake Okeechobee is managed in partnership with the FWC, USACE, SFWMD and Audubon of Florida.

Prescribed burning is a safe way to apply natural processes, ensure ecosystem health and reduce the threat of wildfire. Ecologically responsible prescribed burns help improve habitat for fish, waterfowl, wading birds, the Everglades snail kite and other wildlife populations.

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