Prescribed Burning at Charlotte Harbor

A view of the smoke from a prescribed fire.

Before there were roads, canals, farms and cities around Charlotte Harbor, lightning-set fires frequently swept across the land. The plant and animal species in these fire-affected natural communities became adapted to frequent fire and many of them are dependent on fire to maintain their habitats in a healthy condition.

For example, a deer needs grass to eat. When these areas aren’t burned, trees and other plants can shade out the sun that grass needs for growth. Over time the grass becomes more and more scarce and so does the deer.

We are working to restore these natural communities and reduce the likelihood of destructive wildfires. Working with the Florida Forest Service and the National Weather Service, we select parts of the park that need the reintroduction of fire. We carefully write a prescription to apply fire, much like a doctor prescribes medicine. When the weather is appropriate to minimize smoke impacts on neighboring communities and roads, we apply fire and make sure that it stays in the area that we have selected for treatment.

After almost 40 years of prescribed burning, we are pleased to say that the results have been a great benefit to many species of plants and animals that inhabit this special place.