OAKVILLE – Staff at Conservation Halton has been busy planning throughout the winter, for a prescribed burn at Glenorchy Conservation Area. After several weeks of monitoring the weather, conditions are favourable for the prescribed burn to take place this Sunday, April 22. The burn is planned to commence around 2 p.m. and will be completed in three to four hours.
The prescribed burn at Glenorchy Conservation Area is essential to manage and restore the newly created tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Of the total 50 hectares of grasslands restored at the property, 17 hectares (42 acres) will be part of this years’ burn.
A prescribed burn is a deliberately set, carefully planned and controlled low severity fire which consumes ground level organic materials. The goal of the burn is to remove invasive non-native plans and provide the necessary disturbance to promote growth of deep rooted native grassland plants and increase seed germination. Without a regular fire regime, non-desirable and woody vegetation will displace grassland species.
The prescribed burn is in accordance with the Operational Prescribed Burn Plan and Master Plan for Glenorchy Conservation Area with the goal to maintain the 50 hectares of restored grassland habitat.
As only 2 to 3 per cent of Ontario’s native prairie remain, this restoration projects helps to reintroduce and manage this rare ecosystem into landscape. This project also helps to increase and maintain an ecosystem that supports a high diversity of native plants, birds, mammals and insects, including a number of rare and endangered species.
What is a prescribed burn?
A prescribed burn is a controlled, deliberately set and carefully managed low temperature fire that consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems. It does not harm larger trees and is a recognized, scientific method of controlling grasslands, savannahs and oak woodlands.
Why is Conservation Halton undertaking a prescribed burn in Glenorchy Conservation Area?
Wildfires here were a natural occurrence and indigenous prairies and oak woodlands have evolved to be fire-dependent and as a result, prescribed burns benefit native plants and animals by removing exotic plants and grasses, by restoring wildlife habitat, and by returning essential nutrient balance to the soil.
What about smoke coming from the burn?
Under the weather parameters required to proceed with the prescribed burn, the smoke is expected to dissipate and will not affect surrounding neighbourhoods. However, it is possible that some smoke from the prescribed burn may reach some of the residential areas near the conservation area. Individuals with asthma or high sensitivity to poison ivy or smoke may wish to limit their exposure by keeping windows closed or leaving the immediate area around Glenorchy Conservation Area on the day of the burn.
Who carries out the burn?
Lands and Forests Consulting Ltd. has been retained to plan and carry out the prescribed burn with a qualified crew. Conservation Halton staff will assist with the burn, and the Oakville Fire Department will be on site in a standby capacity.
How long will the burn take?
It is expected that the burn in Glenorchy Conservation Area will take several hours to complete, but last only one day. After completion of the burn, staff will patrol the area looking for smoldering debris and ensuring that it is properly extinguished.
For more information about the prescribed burn, please call Conservation Halton at 905-208-1006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.conservationhalton.ca/glenorchy-prescribed-burn.