Not much new to report.
On Thursday we went out to our trail areas of the park where we plan to do a prescribed burn later this year. We worked all day to clear a fire line, and were in water from ankle deep to about a foot deep. Once the rainy season stops this area will dry out. After the rain since yesterday, it is probably deeper right now.
The lane has been cleared previously, but we wanted to ensure that there is less chance of a fire crossing the lane and catching the state forest area on fire. We burned this zone about three years ago, but on the other side of the fire lane is Picayune Strand State Forest. They have not burned any of it that borders our park in recent memory. So along our park boundary is 15 or 20 years of unburned area, and if it lights there will be no way of stopping it.
We have burned our zones on a regular basis the last few years, but parts of Picayune have not been burned like they should have. I think this last year showed what happens when you don't burn compared to areas that do burn. We worked a 5,000 acre wildfire in Fakahatchee that went very well because it had burned a few years previously. Our Fakahatchee fire looked like a very good prescribed burn. By contrast a couple miles away was the Balsa fire in Picayune, and it burned 18,000 acres and took weeks to put it under control. In contrast because the Picayune fire burned too hot and intense, it killed trees.
Now that we have worked the fire lane, if a wildfire starts in Picayune, it will hopefully stop when it gets to our park. One advantage we have is that there are almost no structures to worry about. So the biggest issues will deal with smoke dispersion. Fire management has become a very technical science the last few years.