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Smoke plume in Hillsborough County is prescribed burn

Prescribed burn to tame fuel before dry season
Posted at 5:06 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 18:18:31-05

LITHIA, Fla. — Prescribed burns are the cause of a smoke plume visible in Hillsborough County.

"These prescribed burns are very slow moving. Firefighters want to have good control over them. The idea is to get all this fuel out of here before fire season actually starts,” said Bill Carlisle of the Hillsborough County Conservation and Environmental Lands Management.

Low and slow-- that's how they want a prescribed fire to burn inside the Alafia River Corridor Preserve in Lithia.

"Nowadays, with all the new housing developments and schools, it's getting really tough to burn,” said Carlisle.

It’s tricky because conservation officials don't want the smoke to drift. The prescribed burn is taking place over the next few days off Old Welcome Road.

But they also want to get rid of as much of the thick underbrush as possible to protect hundreds of nearby homeowners during brush fire season.

"If a wildfire does start, we have areas that are either burned out or they're graining back up and they won't burn as hot as if there was a lot of fuel left,” he said.

The good news is when the burn's over, it also encourages native grasses to seed and rare orchids to bloom.