Prescribed burn for fuel reduction that was conducted a few months earlier in a pine plantation on South Prong Plantation. Photo Credit: Joel Addington Baker County Press

Topic: Collaboration Defensible space / Firewise Fuels treatment / Prescribed fire Meetings / Events Type: Success Story / Lessons Learned

Baker County FAC Effort Welcomes New Partner

Author: Ronda Sutphen, Florida Forest Service

 

Doug Moore, owner of South Prong Plantation. Photo credit: Joel Addington

Doug Moore, owner of South Prong Plantation. Photo credit: Joel Addington, Baker County Press

Doug Moore, a retired dairy farmer from Jacksonville, Florida, is helping to spread the message about reducing wildfire risk through good land management practices. Mr. Moore owns the 2,400-acre South Prong Plantation, which he actively manages for hunting and timber production. As a Florida certified burner, he uses prescribed fire to reduce wildfire risk while actively managing his property for timber production and wildlife.

South Prong Plantation provides for recreational hunting of white tailed deer, turkey and wild hogs. Many of the people who participate in these hunts are from urban areas and may not know the benefits of prescribed fire for hunting and overall forest health. Mr. Moore makes a point of explaining the use of prescribed fire to people who visit his property. He says that it is people like himself who need to spread the word about the benefits of prescribed fire because many people view it as dangerous, harmful or just a nuisance. Occasionally people complain about the smoke and express concern about wildlife when Mr. Moore burns areas near the road. As an advocate of prescribed burning, Mr. Moore strives to help people understand that fire can be a good thing for both people and wildlife.

Mr. Moore attended the Baker County, Florida FAC seminar in October 2014 and volunteered to host a hazardous fuel reduction demonstration featuring prescribed fire and mechanical fuel reduction treatments. The demonstration took place on the South Prong Plantation in April 2015. Attendees included: members of the public, staff from Senator Rubio’s office and Representative Porter’s office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Suwannee River Water Management District, Plum Creek Timber Company, Rayonier Timber Company, Baker County Commissioners, Baker County Planner, Florida Forest Service, USDA Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Florida Forest Service positrack mulching vegetation. Photo Credit: Florida Forest Service

The Florida Forest Service positrack mulching vegetation. Photo Credit: Florida Forest Service

The plan was to conduct a prescribed burn in an area of planted pine. Due to rain the day before, the burn was canceled; however, those in attendance were able to view and compare areas that had and had not been burned. Attendees also saw a mulching demonstration.

Since hosting the hazardous fuel reduction demonstration, Mr. Moore has become an active part of the core Baker County FAC working group. This group is continually looking for ways to promote the FAC concept through mitigation measures, community outreach and education.

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