PUNTA GORDA — The Southwest Florida Water Management District plans to begin conducting controlled burns in the Prairie Shell Creek Tract in Charlotte County next month.
The prescribed fires will take place July through September in the Prairie Shell Creek area — 3081 Duncan Road, or U.S. 17, north of Punta Gorda and east of U.S. 17.
An estimated 300 acres will be burned in small, manageable units, according to the district, known as Swiftmud.
“Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control,” said Swiftmud spokesperson Susanna Tarokh, “as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in 2017.”
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.
Swiftmud conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year.