Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season.

About 60 people, and a few dogs, attend a Stop the Burn rally on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, at Nancy Graham Centennial Square Park in front of the Florida Crystals headquarters in downtown West Palm Beach. Glades residents spoke out against harmful sugarcane burning practices on the first day of burn season that goes through May.

This video marks the end of our Last Burn Season mini-docuseries. Over the course of five months, the project laid bare the undue harm sugarcane burning imposes on the Glades communities south of Lake Okeechobee.

Leading us from Belle Glade to Pahokee to Lake Harbor and South Bay, this series featured community members who shared their personal experiences living in the shadow of sugarcane burning.

Residents of the Glades are proud members of a vibrant community. There’s a yearning for the outside world to see and embrace the rich history, the nurturing community spirit and the world-class land that made the area famous for its agricultural prowess. But the vitality of “The Muck,” and of the people who call it home, is threatened each time dark clouds hang heavy in the skies as sugarcane burns.

Health issues related to sugarcane smoke exposure are a dire reality in the Glades — as is exasperation at the persistence of the dangerous, outdated harvest practice. Even so, an undercurrent of fear prevents many residents from speaking out against the Glades’ most profitable and politically influential industry: Big Sugar.

As long as the smoke continues to rise over the Glades, Friends of the Everglades will continue to call for the Last Burn Season.

Watch the final video below. If you missed any along the way, all of The Last Burn Season video series, featuring Hester Harrell, Anne Haskell and Fred Brockman, Robert Mitchell, Ras Behjahman and Kina Phillips can be viewed on our website HERE.