The Florida Forestry Service held a controlled burn at Pine Island Preserve this past weekend.
Lee Amos, conservancy staff biologist with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, said the forestry had an opening on Saturday, so they took it and were able to do a burn this weekend. He said they were out there on Sunday and Monday to make sure there was not too much smoke for everybody because it will sometimes smolder.
"They have been doing a really good job," Amos said.
Although he is not sure how much of the acreage was burned, he said the forestry will be doing another burn in the upcoming weeks to finish out the target areas.
"The burn is very important for the wildlife there," Amos said.
Without the burn, the habitat becomes much less suitable for animals. With the controlled burn, the risk of wildfire is reduced because now all the fuel is used up.
Amos said he wanted to thank the neighbors of the preserve because of their understanding of the controlled burn.
"We are appreciative of that," he said.
This was the first controlled burn at Pine Island Preserve, which is located at 7630 Stringfellow Road. Removal of invasive plants has been done by herbicide and mechanical measures in the past.
Forty-nine acres will be included in the controlled burn once it is completed.
The Pine Island Preserve was purchased by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast in 2009, which consists of 230 acres. In addition, the organization worked with Lee County 20/20 and the Calusa Land Trust to protect the adjacent 190 acres of the Pine Island Preserve.
According to the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, the preserve will become a public park once the planning and permitting phase is completed, along with enough funds being raised to complete the infrastructure.
For more information, call 941-918-2100. The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is a nonprofit land trust organization that is nationally accredited.