From the text...'Prescribed Burning Act of 1990 ... A blue-ribbon committee translated these prescribed burning concerns into proposed legislation that was introduced into the 1990 legislative session. Representative Frances L. "Chance” Irvine and Senator Karen Thurman led the efforts to make sure everyone understood the critical need for such legislation. Thanks to them and the efforts of many others, the Florida legislature determined that prescribed fire is a land management tool that benefits the safety of the public, the environment, and the economy of Florida. Florida State Statute 590.026, the Florida Prescribed Burning Act, became law on October 1, 1990. This legislation, with its associated administrative rules, outlines accepted forestry burn practices in the state. It also protects prescribed burners from civil liability as long as they or their agents are not found generally negligent as defined in Florida Supreme Court ruling Midyette vs. Madison, No. 74,091 (1990). In addition, prescribed bums conducted in accordance with the statute may no longer be terminated because of nuisance complaints. This law authorizes and promotes the continued use of prescribed burning for ecological, silvicultural, wildlife management, and range management purposes. The advantages of prescribed fire are outlined in the statute as follows: 1. Prescribed burning reduces naturally occurring vegetative fuels within wild land areas. Reduction of the fuel load reduces the risk and severity of major catastrophic wildfire, thereby reducing the threat of loss of life and property, particularly in urbanizing areas. 2. Most of Florida*s natural communities require periodic fire for maintenance of their ecological integrity. Prescribed burning is essential to the perpetuation, restoration, and management of many plant and animal communities. Significant loss of the state*s biological diversity will occur if fire is excluded from fire-dependent ecosystems. 3. Forest land and range land constitute significant economic, biological, and aesthetic resources of statewide importance. Prescribed burning on forest land prepares sites for reforestation, removes undesirable competing vegetation, expedites nutrient cycling, and controls or eliminates certain forest pathogens. On range land, prescribed burning improves the quality and quantity of herbaceous vegetation necessary for livestock production. 4. The state purchased hundreds of thousands of acres of land for parks, preserves, wildlife management areas, forests, and other public purposes. The use of prescribed burning for management of public lands is essential to maintain the specific resource values for which these lands were acquired. 5. A public education program is necessary to make citizens and visitors aware of the public safety, resource, and economic benefits of prescribed burning. 6. Proper training in the use of prescribed burning is necessary to ensure maximum benefits and protection for the public. 7. As Florida*s population continues to grow, pressures from liability issues and nuisance complaints inhibit the use of prescribed burning. ©by the Society of American Foresters. Abstract reproduced by permission.