news and events » related news

Related News Header

Related News Item

return to Related News

Officials discuss wildfire prevention

by Webmaster |

PALM COAST - The gigantic machine roared into action, its front rotor grabbing small trees, palmetto leaves and other potential fire hazards and quickly converting it to mulch, leaving a path cleared of heavy vegetation.

The use of the Gyrotrac, which resembles an army tank, as a means to reduce fuel for fires was demonstrated Wednesday for the federal Wildland Fire Leadership Council, which visited this North Florida community that has been devastated by wildfires twice in its short history.

''We're here to see what is going on in Florida by way of mitigation, fuel reduction and land management'' to reduce catastrophic wildfires, said Lynn Scarlett, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior and chairwoman of the federal wildfire fighting committee.

Joining Scarlett on a bus tour were Dale Bosworth, chief of the Forest Service; Rebecca Watson, assistant secretary for land and minerals management with the Interior Department; and Mike Long, a Florida state forester.

The council was touring areas in Florida to study a variety of fire management activities.

At a stop in the Cypress Knoll subdivision in Palm Coast, 60 miles south of Jacksonville, state officials demonstrated the Gyrotrac and talked about efforts to reduce future wildfires in Florida by reducing vegetation, educating homeowners and becoming proactive in fighting wildfires.