New Port Richey residents who notice smoke in the sky over the James E. Grey Preserve March 27 don’t need to be alarmed.
New Port Richey Fire Rescue and the Florida Forest Service are teaming up to conduct a prescribed burn on 25 acres of land, weather permitting.
Why are officials setting a fire in the preserve?
“This is a wildfire mitigation project specifically targeting wildland fuels in close proximity to bordering communities where these fuels present a potential wildfire threat,” a news release from the city explains. “This burn will be a carefully planned event and will only be conducted if the weather parameters are met.”
Wildfires are a concern in Florida this time of year. According to the forest service, there have been 920 wildfires in the state since Jan. 1. A number of wildfires are currently active throughout Florida.
The area for the March 27 prescribed burn is in New Port Richey south of Plathe Road and west of Rowan Road. It’s possible residents in this area will notice a smoke plume if the burn goes off as planned.
With current winds forecast to carry the smoke south, residents in that area are advised to consider keeping their windows closed.
Anyone with questions can call Dave Fogler, senior forester, at 352-523-5101, or New Port Richey Fire Rescue at 727-853-1032.