The Balm-Boyette Nature Preserve is closed until further notice due to a wildfire caused by a lightning strike, which occurred on July 28.

The lightning strike caused an extremely hot fire in approximately 100-120 acres of sand pines located on both sides of the main entrance. The fire is still hot and damage to the trees is a safety concern. Hillsborough County Parks Recreation and Conservation staff feels the damage to the trees could cause them to fall, and as a precaution, many will have to be taken down or removed once they do fall.

The major recreation component in this part of the Nature Preserve is 18 miles of off-road bicycle trails. The nearest off-road bicycle trail is Morris Bridge Park, 13330 Morris Bridge Road in Thonotosassa (near USF). The Alafia River State Park also offers off-road bicycle trails.

The Nature Preserve will reopen when conditions allow.

The Balm-Boyette Nature Preserve is located at 13998 Balm-Boyette Road in Lithia.

Contact the Conservation Services Office at 813-672-7876 for additional information.

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!