USA– Floridas use of controlled burns to manage wild areas has been recognized nationally.
The Florida Forest Service reported the highest number of acres treated by a state forestry agency in United States history in 2015 when it treated more than 246,000 acres with prescribed fire, and Friday it received a national award for its role in fire mitigation.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam made the announcement Friday that the Florida Forest Service has received the Wildfire Mitigation Fire Service Leadership Award for its record-breaking prescribed fire program, which helps reduce the number of wildfires. Prescribed Fire Awareness Week started Sunday.
The National Association of State Firefighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association and the USDA Forest Service judged the entries in the competition.
The Florida Forest Service manages more than a million acres of public forest and 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources. The agency is a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Theyre really leading in terms of displaying what a state agency can accomplish on the ground, said Amanda Cooke, communications director for the National Association of State Foresters.
So far in 2016 there have been 326 authorized fires in Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns, Nassau and Putnam counties combined covering about 15,800 acres, according to the Forest Service. In 2015 there were 3,563 authorized fires in those counties covering about 89,520 acres.