Water District eyes reducing wildfire risks in Marion County by scheduling prescribed fires

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in 2017.

That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns now through March on the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve in Marion County.

Halpata Tastanaki Preserve is located 2 miles east of Dunnellon and 7 miles northeast of the city of Hernando and is bounded by County Road 484 on the north, State Road 200 on the southeast and the Withlacoochee River on the southwest. Approximately 700 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

  • Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires.
  • Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants.
  • Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat.
  • Maintaining access for public recreation.

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year.

Click here to see aerial footage from a prescribed fire in the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve where District land management staff burned 320 acres.