| Last week, an 8,800-acre wildfire near Alligator Alley in Collier County made national news. Smaller fires had also popped up in the area, including one near Sanctuary road, just east of Corkscrew. The drought conditions and high winds have made these and other fires difficult to contain, and Corkscrew’s Senior Resource Manager (who is also a certified Prescribed Burn Boss) Allyson Webb had been in constant contact with the local fire department. She offered as much logistic assistance as was possible under our current COVID-19 restrictions. The essential staff on-site has been patrolling the Sanctuary, working to ensure fire breaks are cleared to reduce the wildfire risk and provided a tractor and water tanker. That fire is now contained.|
The support provided by Corkscrew staff was helpful during this exceptional situation where the local fire departments were stretched thin due to the sheer number of wildfires that cropped up in a short amount of time. It is fortunate that Corkscrew has a great relationship with the fire department and staff members plan to work with them more on future prescribed fires around the Sanctuary. Prescribed fire is a necessary tool to help reduce fuel loads (thus minimizing the risk of wildfires), regenerate marshes and wet prairies, perpetuate fire-dependent plant species, and ensure a healthy habitat for animals and people.