Prescribed burn planned on Lake Okeechobee

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) plans to conduct a prescribed burn on Lake Okeechobee near Lakeport on May 6. This is a follow-up to the Northwest Marsh burn conducted in early March.

The FWC, with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will act as burn manager, conducting the fire on 100 acres of cattail in the north end of Lake Okeechobee. The goal is to improve fish and wildlife habitat in the area.

To help protect public health and safety, the agencies plan to conduct the prescribed burn under wind and weather conditions that minimize smoke impacts to nearby towns and roads. Access to navigational trails through the marsh may be temporarily limited 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, SFWMD, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 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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