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Are prescribed fires safe?

How are prescribed fires managed for safety?

  • All prescribed fires are planned and must be authorized by the Florida Forest Service.
  • Prescribed fires may be planned months in advance, but the final decision to burn typically occurs the day before or day-of a prescribed burn. The 24 hours prior to a prescribed burn is when the Florida Forest Service can confirm if weather conditions and other site factors are suitable for authorizing the burn.
  • Every prescribed fire is reviewed with Florida’s Smoke Screening Tool. It uses computer models and forecasted weather data to view potential impacts from a predicted smoke plume. If it projects a significant impact to smoke-sensitive areas, such as hospitals, nursing homes, roadways, and airports, the burn plan must be changed.
  • Planning a prescribed fire also includes the designation of personnel and firefighting equipment, a map of fire breaks and burn area boundaries, wind speed and direction for surface and transport winds, the mixing height, relative humidity, temperature, fine fuel moisture, and desired fire behavior.