The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) owns and manages the Sharon Creek Conservation Area located in the Municipality of Middlesex Centre at 4212 Springer Road. A 3.4 hectare (7 acre) Tallgrass prairie habitat is centrally located in the conservation area. Tallgrass prairies are a fire dependent ecosystem.
A “low complexity prescribed burn” of the Tallgrass prairie is being conducted April 14, 2015 to mimic a natural disturbance of a fire dependent ecosystem in a safe, controlled and effective manner that will meet the specific objectives of the Prescribed Burn. This burn at Sharon Creek Conservation Area Tallgrass prairie will be deliberately set to burn by a professional prescribed burn team as conditions are perfect to do so.
The major volume of smoke that will be seen by residents and 402 drivers will be in the upper atmosphere that will last no longer than a minute as the flames reach their junction zones and collapse. Intermittent smoke impact in the lower landscape may last as long as the ignition phase. The burn plan restricts burning under certain wind direction and wind speed that could impact local drivers or people who may have their windows open or laundry on the line.
The burn will take place when the grass is 70% to 90% cured in mid to late spring. The desired results of the burn are to:
- Reduce the encroachment of shrubs (sumac) and other invasive plants
- Stimulate the growth of native prairie plants
- Remove accumulated litter and surface seed bank, volatilize nitrogen and blacken the soil, which warms the ground so that prairie plants can overtake exotics. By warming the soil, releasing nutrients and reducing the nitrogen content, fire effectively provides conditions that decrease the vitality of most invasive or exotic plants yet encourages native prairie grasses and forbs to grow.
- Enhance prairie plant seed production and improve the health of the prairie habitat
- Stimulate root development of prairies, enhance growth and sequesters carbon resulting in improved air quality
The burn will be conducted by the company Wildfire Specialists Inc. A burn plan has been developed by Karnerblue32 Consulting – Jack Chapman – a qualified individual certified by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resource Forest Fire Management Program in cooperation with the LTVCA. Safety is the central focus when planning all prescribed burn operations. All Burn Team members are certified in their capacity of their positions to conduct the burn. The burn plan has been approved by the LTVCA and the Municipality of Middlesex Centre Fire Department and Delaware Fire Department.
This is NOTICE prior to the burn. The burn could be postponed/cancelled if weather forecast is not realized or the site inside and outside the Tallgrass Prairie has been compromised. A Smog Alert may also cause the burn to be postponed or cancelled on burn day.
Neighbours to east, south and west of the Sharon Creek Conservation Area will be informed of the burn day in advance.
Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority
General Manager – Don Pearson
Community Relations Coordinator – Bonnie Carey
Wildfire Specialists Inc.
Owner – Brian Burnett