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THE Friends of jonathan Dickinson state park

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Saturday October 21, 2023

What is FireFest?

FireFest is our fall community family event to celebrate

Florida's relationship with fire. 

Learn about the importance of prescribed fire (controlled burns), safety awareness, and how important fire truly is to our local wildlife and community.  The day is filled with live fire demos, hayrides, swamp buggy tours through the park, pumpkin patches, campfires, food and drinks, ghost tours, and much more! 

Park admission is $6/vehicle (up to 8 people) Cash is recommended

Carpooling is recommended

    Live Music! Swamp Buggy Rides! Hay Rides! 
Bounce House! Food Truck! Education for the whole family!

    Tickets for bounce house pass, hayrides, and swamp buggy rides will be available for online purchase starting September 3rd for Friends of JDSP Members and September 10th for the general public. Online ticket sales will end on October 15th but will be available for purchase the day of the event, October 21st. 

    2023 FireFest Tickets


    Bounce House All Day Pass - $4/online price; $5/day of

    Hayride - $3/online price; $5/day of

    Swamp Buggy Ride 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm - $15 online price/$20 day of

    Swamp Buggy Ride 4:10 pm - 8:30 pm - $20/online price; $25 day of

    Prescribed Burn Demonstrations

    Prescribed Burn Demos - 3:00 & 7:00

    Fire Buckets - 1:30, 2:30, 5:30, 6:30 

    Spray a Fire Hose - 1:00 - 3:00; 5:00 - 7:00

    Smoke present during fire demos

    Activities and times may vary

    Fun for the Whole Family

    Bounce Houses*

    Hay Rides*

    Swamp Buggy Rides*

    Exhibitors and Vendors from Local Agencies, Non-Profits, & Businesses

    Guided Hikes

    Jr. Ranger Booth

    Pumpkin Patch*

    Ghost Tour

    Live Music

    Food & Drink*

    *Some activities for additional fee

    FireFest Merchandise



    By engaging the community with this event, we are able to create an understanding of this vital resource management tool. 

    Live Music 

    THE LITTLE THINGS DUO 1 pm - 4 pm at Loxahatchee Pavilion

    JAMBUSH 5 pm - 9 pm at Loxahatchee Pavilion

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    Local Animals That Depend on Fire

    Gopher Tortoise

    Florida Scrub Jay


    Red Cockaded Woodpecker


    Prescribed Fire Q & A

    "Why does the Park conduct prescribed burns?"

    Long before humans inhabited Florida, wildfires caused by lightning spread naturally, often fueled by the wind. Prescribed burning mimics natural fire cycles to restore healthy forests and natural communities, reduce undergrowth that accumulates over time and decreases the potential for wildfire. Burned lands experience an increase in native wildflowers, birds and other wildlife.

    "But aren't you harming the plants and animals?"

    The plants and animals of Florida have adapted to wildfires, and today, many species are greatly dependent on fire for survivalDue to the nature of a prescribed fire occurring throughout the duration of a day, most of the animals have time get out of the area or seek refuge before the burn impacts them directly. 

    "How does fire help plants grow?"

    Some of the species found in flatwoods are fire-dependent. Wiregrass seeds and flowers only after it has been burned. Fire is a key component of a healthy sandhill habitat, preventing non-fire adapted species from becoming established in open areas. 

    "What animals depend on fire?"

    Regular prescribed fires maintain the scrub oaks, bare patches of sand, and low growing vegetation such as palmettos which the Florida scrub-jays prefer. Without fire, the scrub habitat is lost and the Florida scrub- jay struggles to survive. For the gopher tortoise, fire opens up the canopy and controls the growth of woody shrubs. Fire allows more sunlight to reach the forest floor, thus encouraging the growth of grasses, forbs, and other food plants as well as increasing areas for basking and nesting.

    For more information on Prescribed Fire, please visit our YouTube video and channel HERE.

    Local Plants That Depend on Fire

    Longleaf Wiregrass

    A fire tickles longleaf pine needles. Photo by John Maxwell for USFWS.

    Frequent fire is necessary to maintain the open nature of the iconic longleaf pine-wiregrass habitat. Longleaf seeds that germinate in the bare, mineral-rich soil left behind after a burn.

    Florida Pitcher Plant


    After a controlled burn, a blackened field quickly revives with new, green life. Pitcher plants, many orchids, cutthroat and wiregrasses are among key species that thrive upon fire. Indeed, hundreds of Florida’s plant species would be lost without it.

    Benefits to Wildlife

    Fire’s influence on Florida’s landscape is so vital to the survival of numerous plants and wildlife species that prescribed burning is one of the states  most extensively-applied habitat management practices. Many wildlife species rely on fire for maintenance of their habitat. For many species their very existence depends on the ability of  habitat to produce enough of the right kind of food. Fires promote nutritious new growth of flowering plants and shrubs as well as seed and fruit production. Many beneficial insects are also abundant after a burn. Prescribed fire is the best tool wildlife managers have for managing habitat for wildlife.

    For sources and information on Prescribed Fire, please visit the websites below: 

    Florida State Parks

    Fish and Wildlife Service

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

    Benefits to People and our Community

    Prescribed fire is an effective management tool used on Florida’s Wildlife Management Areas, where you can enjoy year-round recreational opportunities. Prescribed fire...

    Reduces risk of uncontrolled wildfires: Prescribed fire reduces the buildup of dangerous fuels (plant matter) from overgrown brush and forest litter. Prescribed fire is the best way to remove combustible debris, which helps lower the risks to people and property from fast-moving catastrophic fires, and reduces the intensity of wildfires when they do occur.

    Enhances the beauty of the land: Prescribed fire recycles nutrients back into the soil and promotes the growth of trees, wildflowers and other plants. Regular prescribed fire improves aesthetic values by increasing occurrence and visibility of flowering plants and maintaining open vistas.

    Improves access to the land and provides better recreational opportunities: Regular prescribed fire provides better conditions for hunting, hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing.

    FireFest is proudly supported by

    The Friends of

    Jonathan Dickinson State Park


    16450 SE Federal Hwy

    Hobe Sound, FL 33455

    The Friends of Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the State of Florida, Division of Consumer Services by calling 1-800-435-7352. ID# 65-0568296. 

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