Refuge, partners to implement prescribed burn at Botanical Site
Based on current weather forecasts, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and its partners will implement a prescribed burn of the Botanical Site on Sanibel on July 17.
It will entail the South Unit, located west of Rabbit Road, north of West Gulf Drive, east of the Gulf Pines subdivision and south of the Sanibel River; and the North Unit, located from Sanibel Captiva Road to the Gulf Pines subdivision.
If the weather conditions are not favorable, the burn will be postponed until the next favorable opportunity. While the burn is being conducted, there will be a public information station set up at Sanibel Recreation Center staffed by the refuge and other fire personnel for more information.
The Southern Florida and Caribbean Fire District of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct the prescribed burn with the assistance of the Florida Forest Service, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, city of Sanibel, and Sanibel Fire and Rescue District. The purpose of the burn is to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires and to help preserve the natural ecology of the area.
During the controlled burn operations, residents and visitors are encouraged to:
– Close their windows.
– Cover pools.
– Move vehicles and furniture indoors.
– Stay indoors to minimize the impacts from smoke, and leave island if needed.
Smoke and ash associated with a prescribed burn cannot be prevented.
On the days when a prescribed burn is taking place, portions of the refuge may be closed to the public. Adhere to 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 ignition of 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, taking all precautions necessary to have personnel and equipment on site to minimize fire activity and smoke impacts to the public.
The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is at 1 Wildlife Drive.