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restoring oak savannah

PRESCRIBED BURN SCHEDULED IN ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS’ NATURE SANCTUARY

This spring, Royal Botanical Gardens will be conducting several prescribed burns in order to restore rare oak woodland, oak savannah and tallgrass prairie habitat at Sassafras Point, Princess Point and York Boulevard Prairie of the Cootes Paradise Nature Sanctuary in Hamilton.

Prescribed burns require specific weather conditions and accurate forecasting before a precise date can be established. A second notice will be posted on our website once the date is confirmed.
Visit www.rbg.ca for a daily countdown to the burn day!

Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savannah Management at RBG

Today, less than one percent of Hamilton’s prairies and savannas remain. Prairie and savannah plant communities require frequent disturbances such as fire to be maintained. Without fire, woody plants and invasive species take over. Ecologists use low-intensity burns as a tool to restore these rare communities. In the past 30 years, highly successful burn operations have been demonstrated in many similar ecosystems throughout southern Ontario, including urban parkland settings in Toronto and Windsor.

Fire Safety

RBG’s oak savannah and tallgrass prairie burn will take place under the supervision of prescribed burn specialists from Lands & Forests Consulting Ltd. This will ensure that controlled conditions exist throughout the course of the event. Local fire departments and governments have approved the burn plan. There will be a safe viewing area at Princess Point for visitors to witness the prescribed burn.
The fuel type and length of burn will produce minimal smoke, however smoke may be present for up to 48 hours after the fire has been extinguished. For health reasons, it is recommended that asthmatics avoid prolonged exposure to the smoke. In addition to this, the smoke may contain small amounts of poison ivy oil. Those individuals who
are sensitive to poison ivy should avoid exposure to the smoke. If respiratory irritation occurs, please move immediately to an area with fresh air and contact a physician.

There will be no access to Ginger Valley Trail from Princess Point on the day of the burn. Sassafras Point trail will remain closed before, during and after the burn.

Get Involved!

If you are interested in volunteering for this important and exciting restoration event, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Lindsay Burtenshaw, Royal Botanical Gardens’ Terrestrial Ecologist, at lburtenshaw@rbg.ca or 905-527-1158 ext. 257.

The 2010 Oak Savannah and Woodland Prescribed Burn Project is supported by the Edith H. Turner Foundation Fund through the Hamilton Community Foundation.

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