This Fall, the Bruce Trail Conservancy will be conducting a controlled burn at Vanishing Stream 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?
Vanishing Stream Nature Reserve
Lot 35, Concession 7,
Town of South Bruce Peninsula
There will be no access to the Bruce Trail on Vanishing Stream Nature Reserve on the day of the burn. Staff will be positioned at entrance points.
When will it take place?
The burn will occur on a single day based on appropriate weather conditions in mid-late September or early October.
The Bruce Trail Conservancy will update this page and post on social media once the date of the burn is confirmed.
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 the one conducted on the BTC’s Fisher’s Pond Nature Reserve earlier this year. 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 acknowledged 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 Vanishing Stream 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
This will be the first operational controlled burn on the Vanishing Stream Nature Reserve and the second ever organized by Bruce Trail Conservancy staff.
Tallgrass prairie restoration work will begin at Vanishing Stream Nature Reserve after the burn as Bruce Trail Conservancy seeds this former agricultural field with native prairie and meadow plant species.
The 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 Vanishing Stream Nature Reserve to provide habitat for these rare plants and animals.
Conducting the burn in late September or early October means that birds in the area have already left their nests and many will have begun their migration south for the winter.
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.
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 Brian Popelier at 226-678-1108 or email us below.