VERO BEACH, Fla. -

It's now easier for Florida landowners to plan prescribed fires and manage wildlife habitats.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement Wednesday it had issued a biological opinion to the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service that streamlines the process for private landowners.

According to the agency, prescribed fires will enhance recovery and conservation efforts for dozens of imperiled species and also reduce the likelihood of wildfires. The wildlife service also noted that the lack of fire in recent decades has left several habitats overgrown and undesirable for many species, including the Florida scrub-jay, the eastern indigo snake, and the Florida bonneted bat, among others.

Landowners must still get proper authorization to conduct prescribed fires in the state, authorized by the Florida Forest Service.