Albion Hills Prescribed Burn

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is planning a prescribed burn of a tallgrass meadow located near the corner of Old Church Road and Duffy’s Lane in the Town of Caledon.

Location: Albion Hills Conservation Park   |   Address: 16500 Highway 50
Ownership: TRCA   |   Municipality: Town of Caledon

Prescribed burns are carefully set and managed low-burning fires that are an important restoration tool to help maintain and protect grassland ecosystems. The fire burns relatively quickly to consume dried grasses, small twigs, and leaves but does not harm larger trees.

TRCA Restoration and Resource Management team member oversees a prescribed burn

A prescribed burn is used to protect valuable grasslands from invasive plants and encourage the growth of native grasses and wildflowers that provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife including birds, bees, and butterflies.

Note: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is conducting this prescribed burn to manage this meadow ecosystem in partnership with Lands & Forests Consulting, a professional consultant specializing in prescribed burns. Lands & Forests Consulting are responsible for all technical aspects of setting, controlling, and extinguishing the fire.

Map of Burn Area

The red shaded area on the map (totaling 5.86 hectares) indicates the area to be burned.

Select the image below to view the full-sized map.

map of Albion Hills prescribed burn area

Safety Recommendations

Under ideal weather conditions, smoke from the prescribed burn will rise and dissipate without impacting surrounding properties. Changing weather conditions could lead to smoke temporarily reaching nearby residences.

It is recommended that residents close windows, doors, and fire dampers as a precaution, and that anyone with sensitivity to smoke stay indoors at the time of the burn.

TRCA Restoration and Resource team member observes smoke rising from a prescribed burn

Notification List

All neighboring residents and property owners within a 2.5 km radius of the prescribed burn will be notified via roadside signs and a mailed information package.

Town of Caledon staff and council, Peel Police, Caledon OPP, Town of Caledon Fire and Emergency Services, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Town of Orangeville Fire Services, and other organizations have been alerted.

Anticipated Burn Date(s)

The burn is projected to occur between April 2 and April 26, 2024. Weather and site conditions are being monitored by TRCA to determine the ideal window of time for the burn to be conducted.

TRCA Restoration and Resource management team member monitors the edge of a prescribed meadow burn

Contact Information

If you are interested in receiving more information about this restoration project, or being included on the email notification list, please contact the Project Manager by one of the methods below:

Chris Cormack
Project Manager, TRCA, Ecosystem Management
chris.cormack@trca.ca
(365) 566-2368

Frequently Asked Questions

What are prescribed burns and why are they important?

A prescribed burn is a planned and carefully controlled fire that is used to mimic the low-intensity fires that would have historically occurred on the landscape naturally.

Prescribed burns improve wildlife habitat and encourage the new growth of native grasses and wildflowers, increase biodiversity of plant species, minimize the spread of pest insects and disease, and recycle nutrients back into the soil.

 

What is the purpose of this burn?

The purpose of this burn is to control the encroachment of woody plants, invasive and non-native plants to stop the meadow from succeeding into a shrub thicket.

The burn will renew soil nutrients by removing the biomass buildup of the thatch layer, which will accelerate the release of nutrients from the dead plant stock to allow it to be recycled back into the ecosystem.

This process will improve native seed germination by allowing sunlight to reach the exposed soil.

 

Why is the exact date for the prescribed burn not communicated in advance?

The exact date of the prescribed burn is difficult to predict in advance as it depends on very specific site and weather conditions.

A prescribed burn “window” of April 2 to April 26, 2024 has been identified. Once the site and weather conditions for a safe and controlled burn have been achieved, a date will be confirmed and those residents requesting notification via email will be advised (approximately 24 to 48 hours in advance).

If you would like to be included on the email notification list, please contact TRCA Project Manager Chris Cormack at chris.cormack@trca.ca.

 

Who is responsible for setting and controlling the fire?

A fire boss with extensive provincial firefighting and prescribed burning experience has written the burn plan and will be responsible for the ignition, control, and extinguishing of the fire.

“Fire boss” is an Ontario designation for a certified individual who has full responsibility for planning and carrying out a burn with a qualified crew.

The consultant has 20-plus years of experience conducting prescribed burns in neighboring jurisdictions, including the City of Toronto, City of Mississauga, and Simcoe County.

 

What precautions are in place to ensure the burn remains in control?

The fire will be lit only after required site and weather conditions – including temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and direction – are favourable for the operation.

TRCA staff will mow the perimeter of the burn location. The 2.5-meter-wide mowed fuel break will act as a burn break that surrounds the burn block.

TRCA’s consultant will ignite and control the pattern of the fire to ensure fire lines are “burning into the black” – meaning the fire is headed towards areas already burned so that there is no more fuel, and the fire will self-extinguish.

The fire will be constantly monitored by the consultant’s fire suppression team, and will be assisted by TRCA staff with designated monitoring posts. All staff will be in constant radio contact with one another. ATV units will be outfitted with water tanks and sprayers and will act as mobile suppression units.

Over 2,400 feet of fire hose, pumps, and water sources will be on site. Staff from the local fire department have been notified of the burn and will be present during the burn, pending availability.

 

Is smoke from the burn dangerous?

Fire smoke is made up of a mixture of gases and very small particles that are produced when organic matter burns. Exposure to smoke may cause burning eyes, runny nose, irritated throat and sinus, and headache.

Children, seniors, pregnant women, and those who have underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung conditions, may be more sensitive to the effects of smoke.

The impacts from exposure to smoke depend on many factors, including weather conditions and proximity to the source. It is recommended that anyone sensitive to smoke stay away from areas with fire smoke.

If individuals are exposed and have trouble breathing or other symptoms, they should consult their healthcare provider.

Residents should keep windows, doors, and fire dampers closed as a precaution to minimize the potential of smoke entering homes.

 

How does wildlife survive a fire?

On the day of the burn, TRCA staff will conduct a wildlife sweep of the meadow to flush out any wildlife prior to ignition. Wildlife refuge zones have been identified at the north area of the property.

TRCA is conducting the prescribed burn outside of the breeding bird window, and during a time when there is little wildlife activity in the meadow.

 

Who will be notified of the prescribed burn?

All neighboring residents and property owners within a 2.5 km radius of the prescribed burn will be notified via roadside signs and a mailed information package.

Town of Caledon staff and council, Peel Police, Caledon OPP, Town of Caledon Fire and Emergency Services, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Town of Orangeville Fire Services, and other organizations have been alerted.