Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve
Controlled Burn

April 12, 2023

This Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the Bruce Trail Conservancy will be conducting a controlled burn at Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve to improve grassland habitat.
What is a controlled burn?

A controlled burn, also known as a prescribed burn, is a deliberately set, carefully planned, and controlled fire that consumes ground-level fuels such as dried leaves, grass, other plants, needles, and fallen woody debris. This practice is a widely used and scientifically recognized method of controlling invasive and weedy plant species, allowing for the growth and regeneration of native grassland species.

Where will it take place?


Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve
Pt Lt 18, 19; Con 1 NDS
Burlington, ON

There will be no access to the Fisher’s Pond Side Trail or the main Bruce Trail between Springer Crescent and Guelph Line on the day of the burn. Staff will be positioned at entrance points.

When will it take place?

It has been confirmed that the burn will take place on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

Who is conducting the controlled burn?

Bruce Trail Conservancy’s controlled burn will take place under the supervision of the prescribed burn specialists from Lands & Forests Consulting Ltd. who have conducted many burns of this nature, including ones in previous years at Royal Botanical Gardens’ Princess Point property. They are very experienced in ensuring that the burn is controlled and safe, and will conduct the burn in such a way as to encourage smoke to rise in order to minimize impacts on surrounding areas.

The fire department has been notified and has approved the burn plan.

Bruce Trail Conservancy staff and volunteers will be on site on the day of the burn as well to ensure the safety of those in the area.

Who will it affect?

Those who live near Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve have been notified of the burn thanks to the door-to-door visits conducted by our volunteers.

The date of the prescribed burn will be dependent on the weather. To minimize impacts, the burn will be conducted in weather conditions that encourage the smoke to rise and that reduce smoke drift into the closest residential area. Smoke may last on site for up to 48 hours after fires have been extinguished.

For health reasons, it is recommended that individuals with asthma avoid prolonged exposure to the smoke. If respiratory irritation occurs, please move away from the smokey area immediately and contact a physician.

Tallgrass Prairie and Meadow Management

The Bruce Trail Conservancy secured the 86-acre Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve, in 2018.

Tallgrass prairie restoration work began at Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve in 2019 with the plowing and seeding of the former agricultural field on the south side of the pond with native prairie and meadow plant species.

While the restoration is well on its way and has resulted in the presence of native species not previously found on the property, a prescribed burn is an important means of controlling invasive species and promoting the growth and establishment of native plant species such as Big Bluestem, Switchgrass, and Tall Sunflower.

Many of Ontario’s threatened and endangered plant and animal species are restricted to prairie habitat, but less than 3% of Southern Ontario’s prairie habitat remains today. The goal of the Bruce Trail Conservancy is to restore tallgrass prairie at Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve to provide habitat for these rare plants and animals.

This will be the first controlled burn for Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve.


The burn is scheduled for the period in April preceding extensive reptile movements. Conducting the burn in early April also means that most birds have not yet returned from their migration or have not yet nested.

Wildlife in the area will be able to flee the prescribed burn area and take refuge in the surrounding habitats that include nearby meadows and forests that will not be affected by the burn, as well as to the pond area.

Many species rely on tallgrass prairies and fire is an important, natural component in establishing and sustaining this habitat for years to come.

Questions about the prescribed burn?

For more information about the prescribed burn, please contact Mara McHaffie at 1-800-665-4453 x225 or email us below.

Agricultural field, 2017
Restoration in progress, 2021

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