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Motorist advisory for southern Alachua County

Press release from Florida Highway Patrol

MICANOPY, Fla. – There is currently a 216-acre prescribed burn north of Micanopy, FL off US Highway 441 near Savannah Blvd, in Alachua County. This may affect travel on US Highway 441 and Interstate 75 due to possible smoke on the roadways throughout the night and into the morning hours. Motorists are urged to use caution when traveling in the area as visibility may deteriorate quickly, especially during the nighttime and early morning hours. Motorists are reminded to reduce their speed and utilize low-beam headlights in order to adapt to changing weather conditions.

  • Prescribed fire is widely accepted as a tool in the Southeastern states. Residents are more accustomed to using controlled fire to enhance timber production, prevent the rapidly growing vegetation, and enhance game species’ habitat. Some states, such as Florida, even have laws recognizing prescribed fire as the landowner’s right to utilize it. Forest fire burns and degrades the soil contributing to desertification. Burning or using poison to remove unwanted vegetation is not a sustainable answer; we need to ask ourselves, why does one of our rainiest states have more prescribed burns than any other state in our nation? Florida has over 88,000 controlled burns annually and only about 5,000 wildfires annually, most of which put themselves out and go unnoticed until later because Florida receives the most lighting in the U.S. and is such a rainy region putting out most wildfires which are caused by lightning. Controlled burns in Florida are mostly set to facilitate factory tree farms weeding their crop of natural vegetation that takes up water and nutrients with fire or naturalist burn to maintain a false narrative about the land. These misguided efforts destroy valued habitats in our primarily sandy soils. Florida has become a “right to burn” state, where government and private entities burn 2.1 million acres yearly. Florida’s government regularly allows repeatedly burning of the same tracts to maintain a false narrative about the nature of an area. The prescribed burn industry lobby our government for grant money to burn natural areas. They need to be stopped. Florida is right behind Hawaii as one of the wettest states. Forest fires, droughts, and other forms of land degradation cost the global economy as much as 15 trillion dollars yearly and deepen the climate change crisis. By 2025, some 1.8 billion people will experience severe water shortages. Please try to help spread the word. Burning Florida is not the answer. No more than poisoning the environment is.

    • Just don’t forget, homeowners, to get a burn permit. When a neighbor accidentally thinks your fire is a structure fire, you won’t get charged $$$ for responding Fire trucks! What a fire gets called in, dispatchers will know it’s an allowed burn, because the burn permit is sent to dispatch to prevent fire trucks from responding to a 991 fire call!

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