If you saw smoke today while on campus, the UF Natural Area Teaching Laboratory wants you to know it was part of their plan.
At 11 a.m. today, the UF upland-pine habitat controlled by the teaching laboratory had a scheduled prescribed burn, according to an email sent by laboratory volunteer Jessica Hong.
The burn should only last a few hours in a small portion of the habitat that’s located between Archer Road and Southwest 34th Street, said Gage Lapierre, a UF forest resources and conservation master’s student.
UF used to have plant communities until the area turned urban. Many plant communities need fire to maintain diversity, Lapierre said. Today’s burn will reduce the fuel load, which is the flammable material on the ground, already present in these habitats so that they can be burned for future maintenance and be enjoyed by the public. This habitat has not been burned since May 2018.
The habitat was burned using a drip torch. The Florida Forest Service, paid laboratory personnel and volunteers, members of the UF Student Association for Fire Ecology and UF’s prescribed fire group were all involved in today’s prescribed burn.
Contact Stephany Matat at [email protected].