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Florida DOF to help landowners with Underbrush Control

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  • Florida DOF to help landowners with Underbrush Control

    Property owners may be able to get underbrush burned for free


    By:Marcia Miller, Telegraph Staff Writer June 05, 2003


    Thanks to the increasing operation of a special team of Division of Forestry (DOF) firefighters known as the Region II Mitigation Team, area property owners may be able to get free controlled burning or mowing of underbrush on their property.
    The mitigation team has been in existence for some time, but the team has recently stepped up operations in the six-county district that includes Bradford.

    Travis Dugger, senior ranger on the team, said that decisions on whether or not the team offers its services free of charge will be made based on the wildfire threat posed to homes in the area of the land in question. For example, if a property owner wants underbrush burned on two acres that lie in the middle of a 100-acre forested tract, the property may not qualify for the free service. A two-acre lot that lies near a number of homes, however, would probably qualify.


    In order to find out if acreage qualifies for free services, property owners in this area should contact Forest Supervisor Steve Ripley at 386-496-3311. A survey of the land in question will have to be done before a decision is made on whether services will be offered free of charge.


    DOF Ranger Mike Work said the services are also available for a fee to property owners who do not qualify for the free service. Costs depend on the acreage to be covered and the time it takes to cover it. For controlled burning, for example, minimum cost is $50 and rates are $10 per acre for the first 50 acres and $6 per acre after that. Plowing costs a minimum of $25 with a rate of $60 per hour.


    Note that if a property does qualify for free service once, it will not be offered free service in the future. Scheduling controlled burning or mowing will also depend on the weather conditions.


    The service is offered free to some properties because keeping fuels like dried branches, pine needles, leaves and grasses cleared from forested areas near homes will help reduce the likelihood that homes or lives will be lost to wildfires.


    Dugger and his team were completing a controlled burn on 20 acres in the Deerfoot Trail area of the county (near Sampson City) on May 29.


    He said the mitigation team travels all over a six-county area performing controlled burns and mowing down underbrush - both on a free and charge basis.


    Work said the team is very important to DOF, because every controlled burn or mowing job the mitigation team performs is one less job the local forestry firefighters have to undertake. Keeping local forestry firefighters with their limited resources free to respond to brush fires is an important service, said Work.


    "If we (local forestry firefighters) are doing a controlled burn, we can't just leave that burn to respond to a wildfire. We have to make sure the burn is completely shut down before we leave it and that could reduce our response time to a wildfire," he said. "But it's also important that we get mitigation (controlled) burns taken care of so we can reduce the future risks to property owners."


    The process for completing a controlled burn begins with plowing a firebreak of six to eight feet wide around the area in question. A firebreak consists of an area that is scraped bare of vegetation.


    DOF firefighters then use "firepots" filled with a mixture of diesel and gasoline to set a line of fire along one side of the property near the firebreak. The fuel dribbles out of the end of the firepot and is ignited by the flame assembly, staring fires that do not burn up into the trees.


    A line of fire is then also set a distance away along another side of the firebreak and allowed to burn back toward the first fire. Work said this technique is quicker and more efficient than simply setting fire to one side of the area and waiting for it to burn to the other side of the property.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  • #2
    Florida: Related Story

    Herald Tribune


    Project will set up fire buffers Land will be cleared to create the
    firebreaks near North Port Estates.


    BY KELLY L. BROOKS


    NORTH PORT -- The Division of Forestry will begin clearing three large firebreaks in the North Port Estates area this week to help firefighters contain wildfires.

    The breaks, or buffers, will be cleared areas of land nearly five miles long and covering 55 acres. They are designed to stop a wildfire from spreading into residential areas.

    Fire has been suppressed in the area for many years, making the problem worse, according to Forest Area Supervisor Rick Christman, who said extremely high fuel loads of 80 to 120 tons per acre are in the three areas where the firebreaks are to be created.

    "If you exclude fire, then you've got the fuel buildup problem," Christman said. "It's not if a fire is going to happen, it's when."

    In 2001, a wildfire started after a controlled burn in the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve in South Sarasota County escaped containment lines and scorched 5,700 acres, including a house in North Port Estates. In April of this year, a wildfire burned more than 130 acres in North Port and dozens of residents were evacuated.

    According to Christman, the danger of wildfire is greatest within the estates area. To the north and east of the estates, the county has already created a 100-foot-wide buffer and conducts regular prescribed burns, reducing the danger of wildfire entering the city, although "the Woodland Estates area just west of North Port Estates still concerns forestry officials," said Christman.

    The largest of the firebreaks, 132 feet wide, will be just south of Tropicaire Boulevard from Van Camp to Buckboard, a distance of about two miles.

    Another 10,106-foot-long buffer 66 feet wide will be created just north of Interstate 75 between Salford Boulevard and Chamberlain Boulevard. A third buffer, just less than a mile long and 66 feet wide, will be cleared south of Chynn Avenue between the Cosmic Waterway and Chamberlain. All three buffers should be finished by the end of June, according to a news release issued by the city of North Port.

    "I think each city and county government needs to look at the possibility of doing this type of work," advised Christman. "It's not a whole lot different than cleaning out ditches or mowing road shoulders."

    Christman says there are several measures that homeowners can take to reduce the hazards to homes and property, starting with creating a 30-foot buffer around a home and clearing the area of all flammable items.

    An official from the Division of Forestry will visit area homes upon request to assess vulnerability to wildfire and offer suggestions for reducing the risk of damage and destruction of property.

    To arrange a fire risk assessment, call the Division of Forestry at 575-5737.

    Last modified: June 19. 2003 12:00AM
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

    Comment


    • #3
      Prescribed burns scheduled

      Sun-Herald

      Presribed burns dates planned


      To reduce the threat of wildfire entering North Port, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) has scheduled a prescribed burn either Monday or Tuesday.

      If weather conditions remain favorable, the burn will occur on the western border of the city between Price Boulevard in the south and just short of Interstate 75 in the north.

      The burn, postponed from last February, will take in approximately 100 acres of the Schewe Tract (formerly the Futrell Tract). Although located within the city, the Schewe Tract is owned by SWFWMD.

      "They're trying to set up an area to protect the city if anything happened, like lightning strikes on the property," said North Port Fire Chief William Taaffe. "It will also allow them to set up other burns because they would then have a protective barrier."

      SWFWMD is expected to make a decision on the burn early Monday morning; if conditions are unfavorable, it will be postponed until Tuesday.

      As a precaution during the burn, North Port Fire Rescue District equipment will be stationed on the North Port side of the burn, just east of the R-36 waterway.


      Staff Report
      09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
      ------------------------------
      IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
      "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
      BMI Investigator
      ------------------------------
      The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

      Comment

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