Fire Targets Invasive Fern in the Everglades

The controlled burn will cover 10,000 acres.
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The controlled burn will cover 10,000 acres.

As California struggles to contain more destructive fires, Florida's Everglades National Park is preparing to light one on purpose.

The Sun-Sentinal reports that crews will drop "plastic spheres of combustible chemicals" over a 10,000-acre area of the park, then ignite the surrounding groundcover with torches.

image: Wikipedia

image: Wikipedia

The immolation campaign is designed to target lygodium, an invasive fern that has overtaken large swathes of the park and disrupted the local ecosystem by smothering native plant species. A 2013 University of Florida study stated that the fern, which was introduced to the United States in the 1950s, "may be the most serious threat to Florida's natural areas."

The burn is expected to last one day. All trails within the park will remain open during the operation, though hikers and boaters are warned to keep an eye out for areas of heavy smoke.

Read more: Sun-Sentinal