TAMPA, Fla. — Several counties are conducting prescribed burns this week. 

Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco are conducting burns on Wednesday, January 9. 

The Florida Forest Service will conduct a 1,599-acre controlled burn in the Citrus Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest. It will be south of County Road 480 (Oak Park Blvd.) and east of Brittle Road.

The second burn will be conducted in the Croom Tract — north of Soult Road, east of Forest Rd. 7, and south of Forest Rd 10. 

These burns could affect residents in northern Hillsborough and Polk counties. 

Citrus County will also have another prescribed burn on Thursday.  The Florida Forest Service is conducting a 4,500-acre prescribed burn in the Goethe State Forest. 

The prescribed burn will be conducted utilizing aerial ignition by a Florida Forest Service helicopter crew as well as ground crews.  

The burn area will be south of Gasline Road, between CR 336 and US 19. 

The Yellow Trail, Ten Mile Rd, Glass Rd, Old Rock Rd, and Dixon Rd will be affected. Signs will be in place at US 19 and CR 336, CR 337 and CR 336, and SR 40 and CR 336. Drivers should use caution as smoky conditions will impact portions of these roads. Residents of Morriston, Romeo, Dunnellon, and a portion of Inglis may also be affected by smoke.

Officials urge hunters and trail users to avoid the area through the weekend as smoke may still be present for several days. 

The benefits of prescribed burns include:

  • Improved forage for wildlife and livestock
  • Return nutrients to the soil
  • Control of certain plant diseases 
  • Reduction of dry and flammable plant material build-up