Prescribed Fire at Faver-Dykes

Prescribed fire burning at Faver-Dykes State Park

Faver-Dykes State Park is a landscape dominated by and reliant on fire. Applying prescribed fire to Faver-Dykes natural communities allows us to create critical habitat for native plants and animals, suppress the severity of wildfire, and restore the land to its historical conditions.  

Historically, the land of Faver-Dykes would have looked much different than it does today. The early 1940s aerials of the park show sparse trees, most likely longleaf pines, with open expanses of sandy soil complemented by historic dune ridges running north and south.

Today the landscape is a far cry away from what it once was. Due to years of fire suppression, Faver-Dykes State Park has more vegetation than ever before. We are slowly restoring it to its natural conditions.

Orange flames burning plants during a prescribed burn

Our crews burn in the dormant season under wet conditions to control the intensity of the prescribed fire. After introducing fires in a particular zone during the wet season, we will then transition to growing season or lightning season fires in that zone. The goal is to stimulate the grasses to grow and start decreasing the woody species that are not part of the native natural community.   

At Faver-Dykes State Park, we are in the process of restoring pine plantation habitat back to historic pine flatwoods. There are challenges that face us, such as an overabundance of gallberry in thinned stands of pine. The plantation zones that we burn have an abundance of pine needle litter but little in the way of grasses. Fine fuels, such as wire grass or blue stem, are what carry the fire through the zone and are especially needed in old pine plantations. 

Saw palmetto burning with orange flames during a prescribed burn

Burning saw palmetto

Our goal is to one day have much of the park on a rotation and introduce fire to zones with no burn history. We will strive to keep our goals while working to get new zones to the point of growing season fires. Preserving and restoring natural resources is pivotal to the Florida Park Service's mission, and at Faver-Dykes State Park we are always doing our part! 

If you want to learn more, come out to Faver-Dykes State Park to see the natural resources and chat with the rangers.