News Releases

Prescribed fire scheduled for western Lake Okeechobee

News Release

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-251-2130

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is planning a five-day prescribed fire on 10,000 acres of Moonshine Bay, a marshy area of western Lake Okeechobee, to improve fish and wildlife habitat.

The prescribed fire is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 29, through Monday, Nov. 2, weather permitting.

To help protect public health and safety, the FWC plans to conduct the prescribed fire under weather conditions that will minimize smoke impacts to nearby towns and roads. Access to the navigational trails through the bay may be limited temporarily during the fire for safety reasons.

Application of prescribed fire is part of an integrated management approach on Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest lake. The FWC manages Lake Okeechobee in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District and Audubon of Florida.

Cattails had invaded the once highly productive open water marsh known as Moonshine Bay. Earlier this year, several thousand acres of cattails were killed with herbicide treatment, but prescribed fire is now necessary to prevent this dead organic material from falling into the lake and causing sediment accumulation. This is an important step for maintaining sportfish spawning habitat and will allow sunlight to reach the lake bottom, promoting growth of a diverse native plant community.

For more information, contact the FWC’s Okeechobee Field Office at 863-462-5190 or visit the Lake Okeechobee Aquatic Plant Management Interagency Task Force website: www.floridainvasives.org/Okeechobee/index.cfm.

Learn about prescribed fire by going to MyFWC.com, clicking on “Wildlife & Habitats” and then “Prescribed Fire.” On that page, you can find information about how prescribed fire benefits wildlife and people.



FWC Facts:
The Florida scrub-jay is a 12-inch-long, blue-and-gray, crestless jay. It lacks the white wing spots and tail feather tips of the more common and widespread blue jay.

Learn More at AskFWC