Did you see smoke in Santa Rosa Beach on December 30, 2016? That’s because there was a Prescribed Fire at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. The weather conditions have to be just right in order for a Prescribed Fire to safely occur and on this day they were perfect. Between 8am and 3pm five Park Rangers with the Florida State Parks, two of which were from Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, executed a Prescribed Fire and maintained the burn until it was no longer.
While it may seem odd to deliberately start a fire in a forest, a Prescribed Fire is actually an effective tool in the preventative management of wildfires as well as the promotion of healthy growth in trees and is carefully planned out long in advance. They help thin overcrowded forests, reduce hazardous fuels and minimize the amount of extreme fires that occur. Prescribed fires also reduce the spread of pest insects, remove unwanted species that threaten native species, improve habitats for threatened and endangered species and recycle nutrients back to the soil.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has over 1600 acres and includes rare coastal dune lakes, old-growth longleaf pine forests, wetlands and 3.2 miles of white sandy beaches. For more information about the wide variety of programs, activities and events going on in the park please call the ranger station at (850)267-8330 or visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Topsail-Hill. You can also interact with the Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park on Facebook
or visit www.topsailparkfriends.org.