Why Apply Fire to Environmentally Endangered Lands Program Sanctuaries?
Fire is one of the tools that
Land Managers use to maintain the rich variety of plants and animals. It plays an important part in shaping the natural areas along the coast. This fire in the Coconut Point Sanctuary in Melbourne Beach provides much needed habitat for Florida Scrub-Jays-a
threatened species that is rapidly dwindling along Florida's barrier islands.
The Pine Flatwoods ecosystem has adapted to frequent fires. Micco Scrub Sanctuary in South Brevard illustrates how frequent fires help sustain gopher tortoises, wiregrass, and saw palmetto which in turn support many native insect and animal species.
Prescribed fire is utilized to maintain
xeric oak scrub in a low open shrub structure such as this zone at the Enchanted Forest in Titusville. Without fire, this type of habitat will slowly change into a dense, canopied forest.
Along with exotic plant removal, prescribed fire helps preserve the Coastal Strand ecosystem-home to Florida Scrub-Jays, indigo snakes and other Florida natives. Prescribed fire was performed next to Flutie Athletic Complex in Melbourne Beach in conjunction
with a Brazilian pepper removal project.
A prescribed fire where a park
or preserve is surrounded by houses, roads and other major developments is referred to as an "urban interface" prescribed fire. The fire pictured here at Erna Nixon Park in Melbourne is an example. The success of these fires is directly related to
the public support of the Park's residential and commercial neighbors. Both the residents that surround the park, and plants and animals living within the area benefit by preserving the natural process of fire within these protected natural areas.
Prescribed fire can help reduce the intensity of wildfires. Fires such as the 1998 firestorm in Brevard County are generally a result of fire suppression combined with heavy fuel buildup.