- Associated Press - Thursday, August 6, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida agriculture officials say they’ve completed a record number of prescribed burns in the past year - nearly 250,000 acres.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam attributed the high number of acres to favorable weather conditions. The Florida Forest Service says they made a point to take advantage of those conditions as often as possible last year.

Officials use prescribed burns to reduce the buildup of flammable plant materials that fuel and intensify dangerous wildfires. Many of Florida’s plant and animal communities are dependent on the regular occurrence of fire for a healthy existence.

Prescribed fires also help preserve rare and endangered plant and animal species by returning nutrients to the soil, providing better forage for wildlife and livestock and helping control certain plant and tree diseases.

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