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Firefighters conducting a controlled burn.

Southwest Florida Water Management District Schedules Prescribed Burns throughout the Nature Coast

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on January 13, 2022

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 January through March throughout the Nature Coast.

Burns are scheduled on Potts Preserve, Flying Eagle Preserve and Chassahowitzka River and Coastal Swamps in Citrus County, and at Annutteliga Hammock and Weekiwachee Preserve in Hernando County, and at Cypress Creek Preserve. Conner Preserve, Starkey Wilderness Preserve, Upper Hillsborough Preserve, and Weekiwachee Preserve in Pasco County.

Prescribed Burns Scheduled in Citrus County:

  • Potts Preserve is located approximately 2 miles east of the city of Hernando and three and a half miles north-northeast of Inverness. The property is east and southeast of State Road 200 and north of Turner Camp Road and is bordered by the Withlacoochee River on the east. Approximately 1,000 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.
  • Flying Eagle Preserve is located southeast of the city of Inverness and approximately 8 miles west of the Interstate 75 and Highway 44 interchange. Approximately 700 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.
  • Chassahowitzka River and Coastal Swamps is located south of the city of Homosassa and approximately 1.5 miles west of U.S. Highway 19. Approximately 50 acres will be burned.

Prescribed Burns Scheduled in Hernando County:

  • Annutteliga Hammock is located east of U.S. Highway 19, north of Centralia Road and south of the county line. Approximately 150 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.
  • The Weekiwachee Preserve is located west of U.S. Highway 19 between Spring Hill and Hernando Beach. Approximately 150 acres will be burned in small, manageable units. Some trails may be temporarily closed during prescribed burn events.

Prescribed Burns Scheduled in Pasco County:

  • Cypress Creek Preserve is located east of Ehren Cutoff and south of State Road 52. Approximately 200 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.
  • Conner Preserve is located west of Ehren Cutoff and south of State Road 52.
  • Approximately 500 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.
  • Starkey Wilderness Preserve is located east of New Port Richey, west of the Suncoast Parkway, north of State Road 54 and south of State Road 52. Approximately 600 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.
  • Upper Hillsborough Preserve is located south of the County Road 54 and east of Chancey Road in Zephyrhills. Approximately 200 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.
  • Weekiwachee Preserve is located north of Hudson, west of U.S. Highway 19 and includes the Aripeka Sandhills tract. Approximately 25 acres will be burned in small, manageable units. Some trails may be temporarily closed during prescribed burn events.

Southwest Florida Water Management District schedules Prescribed Burns throughout the Nature Coast

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.

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