PRESCRIBED FIRES IN POINT PELEE NATIONAL PARK
Lake Erie Sand Spit Savannah Restoration
LEAMINGTON, ONTARIO, February 21, 2019 – Parks Canada is a leader with more than 30 years of experience in using fire to naturally restore and maintain the ecological integrity of national parks and historic sites. Through safe and effective fire management, we are reducing the danger of wildfire to the public, infrastructure and neighbouring lands, while improving the ecological health of our forests and grasslands.
The prescribed fire program at Point Pelee National Park is an important part of the park’s Lake Erie Sand Spit Savannah restoration project. As such, Parks Canada is planning to conduct prescribed fires at Point Pelee National Park between March 1, 2019, and April 15, 2019, when conditions are favourable. Prescribed fires planned for 2019 will be located near the Marsh Boardwalk (0.58 hectares), Sleepy Hollow (1.97 hectares), and DeLaurier (1.1 hectares); in Sparrow Field (1.66 hectares); and along the southern portion of the western shoreline (2.2 hectares).
Prescribed fires reduce fuel to lessen the severity of wildfires, release nutrients, and allow for a mosaic of ecosystems that support diverse plants and wildlife. When planning to undertake any fire management operation, safety is always our number one priority. Prescribed fires are only conducted under exacting conditions (e.g. weather, moisture, wind direction, supporting resources, etc.) and will only go forward when the safety of the public, our crews, park infrastructure and neighbouring lands can be assured.
Point Pelee National Park will remain open to visitors during the prescribed fires. Some smoke will be present and visible, but staff will monitor wind conditions and direct smoke away from publicly used areas to the extent possible. Specific areas will be closed for short periods of time to ensure visitor and staff safety.
Prescribed fires contribute to the restoration of Point Pelee National Park’s globally rare savannah ecosystem by reducing the number of exotic plants, preventing the spread of invading shrubs and trees, and improving habitat for Species at Risk. This is an important step in restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems that support a variety of birds, butterflies, and species at risk which depend on open, sunny savannah habitat to survive.
For up-to-date information about potential area closures, please check the park’s website at parkscanada.gc.ca/pelee and Facebook page at facebook.com/PointPeleeNP.