Smoke Signals Prescribed Burns in Northumberland County

In Local, Upcoming Events

(Today’s Northumberland file photo)

Two Northumberland Land Trust nature reserves will be set on fire this April

The Northumberland Land Trust (NLT) will start two prescribed burns at its Pelton Nature Reserve, and Leckey Nature Reserve. Prescribed burns are essential to restoring and revitalizing native prairie and savannah habitat in Northumberland County by removing invasive species, which tend to sprout early, and encouraging the growth of native species. Both burns will be conducted by Lands and Forests Consulting (LFC). These burns will take place in mid to late April or early May 2024. This is the first burn at the Land Trust’s Leckey Nature Reserve, and the fourth for the Pelton Nature Reserve.

“Grasslands are of particular interest because such habitats have undergone a drastic reduction in Ontario over the past century. As a result, many grassland plant and animal species have similarly declined to the point where many are now considered species at risk”, said John Geale, a former board member and current property steward at the NLT’s McEwen Nature Reserve.

Prescribed burns are intentionally set and professionally managed fires that burn across a pre-determined area under strictly controlled circumstances in order to restore natural habitat. Fires clear scrub and brush, allowing sunlight to reach the soil where native grassland seeds lie. Native prairie species flourish following a fire, restoring the native grassland habitat of the area. Burning only occurs under specific weather conditions that will allow a safe and controlled fire.

This year’s prescribed burns are being funded by public donations to the Northumberland Land Trust. Lands & Forests Consulting is an independent prescribed burn consulting firm. For safety reasons, the public is not allowed access to the prescribed burn areas during the burns. Prescribed burns are weather-dependent and site-specific. For a short time, there will be a visible smoke column rising from the burn area. Manual manipulation of the smoke column can be achieved by the type of ignition pattern, and no problems are expected to result.

About Northumberland Land Trust
The Northumberland Land Trust (NLT) is committed to preserving the natural heritage of Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada. Its mandate is to establish, maintain and manage protected areas. The NLT is a not for profit, charitable organization, which accepts donations of land, enters into conservation agreements for the permanent protection of natural landscapes, forests, farms and waterways and provides public education and information on land conservation. The NLT also raises funds to purchase local land for the purposes of conservation. The NLT is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors representing a cross section of the community including landowners, farmers, business people and professionals. People can donate through the NLT’s website at or contact us at or call: 416-220-6807.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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