Using Controlled Burns to Manage Habitat
SCCF works closely with our partners at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the City of Sanibel, and the Sanibel Fire Department to coordinate our prescribed-fire efforts and to reach out to Sanibel residents to let them know how to keep their homes safe from wildland fires and why prescribed fire is important.
Our prescribed fire program benefitted over the past year with additional work to increase the accessibility of fire lines when conditions are wet. Many wet areas of fire lines were either elevated or covered in a hard base of crushed concrete. This will effectively extend our burn season by providing access further into the late summer and allow for earlier access in the spring.
The photos below are from a burn conducted several years ago to clear the thick growth on the swale just behind the Nature Center building (which can be seen in one of the photos). The photo of smoke shows a burned cabbage (or sabal) palm. Cabbage palms are adapted to a Florida landscape where lightning strikes often cause fire; they survive fires and send out new shoots.
Wading birds returned to the swale the first rainy season that followed the Center Tract burn.