Notice: Prescribed burns at Hazel Bird Nature Reserve

April 9, 2021
Harwood, ON

 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) will be conducting prescribed burns on the NCC-owned Hazel Bird Nature Reserve within the next few weeks. These carefully controlled burns will be carried out by trained professionals. They will be conducted between the hours of 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. For the safety of the public, access to this NCC property will be closed during the prescribed burn and for the three days that follow its completion. Roads in the area should not be affected.

Because prescribed burns are only conducted under specific weather conditions, we are unable to provide an exact date at this time. Both wind speed and direction are considered to ensure a safe and successful burn, while dispersing smoke away from developed areas as much as possible. You may wish to close your windows and keep laundry off the clothesline in case smoke does waft temporarily in your direction. If you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma and live next door to this site, please contact us.

Why do we do prescribed burns? Prescribed burns are an essential part of maintaining the botanical diversity of the rare oak savannah and oak woodland habitats found in this region. Many wildlife species in the Rice Lake Plains, including a number of species at risk, are dependent on these habitats. These habitats include scattered black and/or white oak mixed with white pine trees and various prairie grasses and flowers.

Periodic ground fire prepares the ecosystem for natural re-growth, slows the growth of undesirable woody vegetation and promotes the growth of fire-tolerant savannah grasses and flowering prairie plants, such as big bluestem and blazing star, and shrubs, like fragrant sumac and New Jersey tea. Historically, fire would have naturally swept through the savannah every few years.

These burns are sponsored by the Rice Lake Plains Partnership (www.ricelakeplains.ca) and will be managed by NCC, Ministry of Natural Resources and Lands & Forests, and an independent consulting firm. Detailed burn plans, fire permits and insurance are obtained in advance.

We encourage you to take the time to observe the burned areas throughout the season to see the natural changes that will take place and the wildlife habitat that is regenerated through this work. We believe that you will be impressed by the transformation of these areas.

Please contact us if you require further information about the precise location and timing of the burns. We can only provide that information as soon as the arrangements are finalized.

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Media Contact:

Tara King
Manager, Communications
Ontario Region

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