Prescribed Fire at Florida State Parks

Initial prescribed burning in a wet prairie recently cleared of titi trees

Prescribed fire is one of the most important tools the Florida Park Service uses to help preserve and restore our natural environment.

Prescribed fire is the controlled application of fire by a team of fire experts under specified weather conditions. Prescribed fire helps reduce wildfire risk and restore health to ecosystems that depend on fire.

During much of the 20th century, land managers excluded fire from Florida, quickly extinguishing natural fires caused by lightning. The Florida Park Service and partners such as the Florida Forest Service are now working to restore habitat where lack of fire led to overgrowth. When lightning strikes land that is well-managed with prescribed fire, the likelihood of an uncontrollable wildfire is very low.

Whether high up in the trees or deep in underground burrows, animals across Florida live in habitats that are adapted to fire. Some need fire to clear out space on the ground, while others benefit from the way fire softens trees for nesting.

How to Get Involved

On Earth Day, April 22, 2020, the Florida State Parks Foundation announced a goal of planting 100,000 longleaf pine trees by Earth Day 2021 (April 22). For every $1 donated, the foundation plants one longleaf pine seedling in a Florida State Park.

Each year, the Foundation has renewed that pledge.

Since Earth Day 2020, the foundation has raised more than $300,000 for the Plant a Pine program.

Seedlings have been planted at Torreya State Park, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park and a variety of other state parks.

You can contribute to the foundation’s efforts by donating to the Plant a Pine project.