Prescribed burn planned on Lake Okeechobee

BELLE GLADE — A prescribed burn will be conducted on up to 1,000 acres of green cattail in the south end of Lake Okeechobee near Belle Glade on Friday, March15 to improve fish and wildlife habitat.

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

To help protect public health and safety, the agencies plan to conduct the prescribed burn under a southeast to east-southeast wind, and weather conditions that minimize smoke impacts to nearby towns and roads. Access to navigational trails through the marsh may be limited temporarily during the burn for safety reasons. If the prescribed burn needs to be rescheduled due to weather conditions, the burn will be conducted in the near future.

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 Everglade snail kite and other wildlife populations.

For more information, contact the FWC’s Okeechobee Field Office at 863-462-5190 or visit the Lake Okeechobee Aquatic Plant Management Interagency Task Force website: www.floridainvasives.org/Okeechobee/index.cfm.

Learn about prescribed fire by going to MyFWC.com, clicking on “Wildlife & Habitats” and then “Prescribed Fire.” On that page, you can find information about how prescribed burns benefit wildlife and people.

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