Prescribed burn at Iroquois Shoreline Woods Park set for April 26

Controlled fire aids in the regeneration of oak trees

White Oak in Spring
Prescribed burn at Iroquois Shoreline Woods Park set for April 26

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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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Subject to weather conditions, a prescribed burn at Iroquois Shoreline Woods (ISW) Park will take place on Sunday, April 26, 2015, beginning at 12 p.m. The town’s Forestry staff will oversee the prescribed burn in accordance with the Operational Prescribed Burn Plan for ISW Park.

“A prescribed burn is a deliberately set and carefully controlled low fire that consumes dried leaves and invasive exotic shrubs, but doesn’t harm larger trees,” said John McNeil, manager of Forestry Services. “Oak trees grow more vigorously after a prescribed burn and each of our successful burns has encouraged the natural regeneration of the white and red oaks that were impacted by Oak Decline.”

Controlled forest burn

Controlled forest burn helps with new Oak Tree growth Photo Credit: Coconino National Forest / Source / CC BY-SA

Most of the forest in ISW Park was composed of red and white oaks. Unfortunately, due to Oak Decline, 95 per cent of red oak and 75 per cent of white oak in the park were dead or dying by 2003. This represents over 80 per cent mortality of the entire oak population. Left undisturbed, oak species that require more light to regenerate, would continue to decline. The prescribed burn is a recognized, scientific method of controlling invasive shrubs, such as buckthorn seedlings and honeysuckle, and encouraging the natural regeneration of native trees.

In the weeks following the prescribed burn, town staff will plant 60 saplings grown from the Bronte White Oak – Oakville’s first stand-alone heritage tree designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. Oakville acquired the saplings through Halton Region’s White Oak Nursery Program.

Smoke from the prescribed burn is not expected to disturb surrounding neighbourhoods, however residents with asthma or sensitivity to poison ivy or smoke may wish to limit their exposure by staying indoors, keeping their windows closed or leaving the immediate area surrounding the park.
Lands and Forests Consulting Ltd. will carry out the prescribed burn with assistance from town staff. The Oakville Fire department will also be onsite. Once the burn is complete, Forestry staff will patrol the area ensuring that all smoldering debris is properly extinguished.

The burn requires several hours to complete, but requires the park to be closed for the day. Closure notices have been placed at all park entrances.

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