UCF’s many efforts to prevent and contain wildfires on campus were critical in ensuring that a small brush fire Sunday evening never posed a threat.
The fire covered about one acre in a wooded area northwest of the Tower 1 and 2 residence halls, which are located on West Plaza Drive. UCF Police and Orange County Fire Rescue responded at about 5:30 p.m., and the university evacuated Tower 1 and Tower 2 as a precaution.
Students returned to the residence halls at 7:45 p.m. after the fire had all but extinguished itself when it reached natural fire breaks created as part of UCF’s wildfire management program. UCF modified trails 13 years ago to serve as buffers and also to ensure they were large enough for emergency vehicles to access them to fight fires.
In other areas of campus, UCF has conducted prescribed burns to eliminate brush that can fuel the spread of wildfires, with the added benefit of improving the ecological health of the campus.
UCF Landscape and Natural Resources oversees the wildfire management plan and conducts the prescribed burns with the Florida Forest Service.
Landscape and Natural Resources will monitor the fire area on Sunday night to ensure no problems arise.
Orange County Fire Rescue kept a close eye on the fire with vehicles in place to protect campus buildings if needed. The Florida Forest Service also responded, as did an Orange County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.
An estimated 100 students were impacted by the evacuations. They had the option of going to The Venue at UCF while their residence halls were closed.
For more information on the wildfire management program, go to http://www.green.ucf.edu/natural-resources/prescribed-fires/