Little Pine Island Prescribed Fires

The Little Pine Island Mitigation Bank is a 4,670± acre wetland restoration project by Mariner Properties Development, Inc. and Kevin Erwin Consulting Ecologist, Inc. (KECE) in conjunction with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Controlled fires were recently conducted on Little Pine Island as a part of the ongoing restoration activities. These occurred on September 30, October 1, October 8, 2010 and again on February 25, 2011.

These prescribed fires were approved by the Florida Division of Forestry and the Matlacha Pine Island Fire Control District and were conducted by experienced burners under the supervision of a Certified Burner. A Certified Ecologist from KECE arranged and documented the fires. Representative photographic documentation is provided below.

Approximately 43 acres of slash pine/saw palmetto habitat were burned on the south side of the island during the September/October 2010 fires. During the February 2011 controlled burn, approximately 100 acres of freshwater/brackish coastal high marsh, with saw palmetto habitat inclusions, were burned. The fires were conducted during appropriate winds to keep smoke away from State Road 78 (a.k.a. Pine Island Road). Also, caution signs were placed along Pine Island Road to inform motorists that a controlled burn was in progress.

Native plant regeneration was observed within just a few days after the fires were completed. This recovery process is currently ongoing, plants are continuing to rejuvenate, and it is clearly evident that controlled fires have a positive effect on the native plant communities of Little Pine Island.

Additional prescribed fires are planned on Little Pine Island for September, 2011 and annually thereafter until appropriate burn cycles are established on the island. These fires will be properly coordinated with the agencies previously mentioned above.