Air Force Wildland Fire Branch, with assistance from Tall Timbers Research Station, is planning to conduct a prescribed burn at Tyndall Air Force Base on Wednesday.
The burn will only be conducted if weather, equipment, personnel, and other required items are met, officials wrote in a news release.
This will be the first prescribed burn conducted at Tyndall AFB since Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage to structures and forests from Mexico Beach and Panama City all the way into southern Georgia.
The purpose of the burn is to both begin reducing hazardous fuels on Tyndall following the hurricane and to evaluate the response of hurricane-damaged fuels to prescribed fire within the affected area.
“The volume of timber on the ground has created a serious threat, causing great concern for catastrophic wildfire,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “As we strategically address this threat and reintroduce limited open burning into the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael, firefighter and public safety is our primary focus.”
Winds are forecast out of the northeast Wednesday, so smoke should disperse over the Gulf of Mexico and not be an impact to Panama City and the surrounding area. The smoke plume will be highly visible from the Panama City area.
“Residents should rest assured that we are safely and professionally managing this prescribed burn to the highest standard,” said Brett Williams of the Air Force Wildland Fire Branch.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests.