The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge will be implementing a prescribed burn of the Bailey Tract on Thursday, August 8.
The Southern Florida/Caribbean Fire District of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be conducting the prescribed burn with the assistance of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, the City of Sanibel, and the Sanibel Fire Rescue District. The purpose of this prescribed burn is to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires and enhance wildlife habitat by reducing the spread of invasive woody vegetation and restoring the natural ecology of the area.
Based on current weather forecasts, the Refuge and our partners are planning for this prescribed burn to take place Thursday.
Note: If weather conditions are not favorable the morning of the burn, then it will be postponed until the next favorable opportunity.
During the controlled burn operations, residents and visitors are encouraged to:
1. Close their windows.
2. Cover pools.
3. Move cars and furniture indoors.
4. Stay indoors to minimize the impacts from smoke.
5. Visit the east or west ends of Sanibel Island.
Note: Smoke and ash associated with a prescribed burn cannot be prevented.
On the day when a prescribed burn will take place, portions of the refuge will be closed to public access. Please abide by all signs, road closures, and instructions about closed areas provided by law enforcement and fire personnel. Access into the burn unit will be strictly prohibited during the prescribed fire operation.
After the prescribed burn has been completed, there may be occasional smoke seen from the burned area for several days. Refuge personnel will monitor the burned area and adjacent roads, day and night, taking all precautions and maintaining readiness to minimize fire activity and smoke impacts to the public.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
Questions about the prescribed burns can be directed to the Refuge office at 472-1100 x237.