Prescribed Burns Program Underway to Restore and Manage Natural Areas

March 22, 2023

Nick Kuemmling

Prescribed Burns Program Underway to Restore and Manage Natural Areas

  • Niagara Parks’ annual prescribed burn program to take place on selected dates
    from March through to the end of May
  • Locations selected include sites that have not been burned in the past 5+ years
  • Since 2008, Niagara Parks has used prescribed burns to restore 150 acres of
    native prairie and savannah habitat

Niagara Falls, ON – – Niagara Parks has resumed its annual prescribed burn program this
year to manage several natural areas on selected dates over the next two months. The
first successful burn of the season took place on March 22, 2023, at Whirlpool Golf
Course. Future dates will be determined based on weather and atmospheric conditions,
with burns starting in the late morning and fully extinguished by late afternoon.
For over a decade, Niagara Parks has successfully conducted prescribed burns on its
lands as a vital component of its environmental stewardship responsibilities. Prescribed
burns encourage the regeneration of native prairie grasses and plants, returning nutrients
back to the soil while reducing invasive and non-native species that threaten biodiversity.

The following prescribed burns have been identified for the 2023 program:

  • Chippawa Battlefield, South Plain: Located by Edgeworth Road, Niagara Falls;
  • Niagara Parks Legacy Prairie Garden: Located adjacent to the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens;
  • Paradise Grove: Located at the corner of John Street and the Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake;
  • Chinquapin Oak Savannah (West and East): Located northeast of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens;
  • Whirlpool Slope: Located across from the Whirlpool Golf Course parking lot;
  • Centennial Lilac Garden: Located across from the Floral Clock;
  • Whirlpool Golf Course;

Background Information

To mimic the natural process of fire, prescribed burning has been developed as an
effective tool to manage natural areas. Fire helps control the spread of invasive species,
encourages the germination of dormant native seeds within the soil, and returns
important nutrients back into the earth. These native grasslands are dependent on fire as
a management and maintenance strategy.

Niagara Parks has been using prescribed burns to manage its grassland habitats since
2008, starting with Paradise Grove, a rare black oak savannah in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Since 2016, Niagara Parks has been actively restoring the 50-hectare (120 acre)
Chippawa Battlefield property into a native prairie habitat, which supports grasslanddependent bird species and numerous other wildlife.

With support from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Niagara Parks
prescribed burn program has since grown to manage 12 grassland sites annually. Led by
the RX200 trained Burn Boss, all Niagara Parks employees who participate in the
prescribed burns must complete the RX100 Low Complexity Burn Worker certification.