Controlled Burn in Tosorontio
The County of Simcoe is executing a controlled burn on 40 hectares (100 acres) of County Forests within the Tosorontio Tract in the Township of Adjala Tosorontio (west of Base Borden and near the western boundary of Simcoe County). The controlled burn, which will occur on May 16, 2019, is anticipated to take two days to complete. The exact timing of the burn will be dictated by site and weather conditions and cannot be determined at this time.
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History of Fire Management in Simcoe County Forests
Fire has played a critical role in the development of forests throughout Ontario. Fire influences the composition, structure, and pattern of vegetation by reducing competition, creating seedbeds, releasing nutrients, and triggering seed release or vegetative reproduction. (Van Sleeuwen, 2006). The Aboriginal use of fire was a significant factor but its extent and impact are not well understood.
More recently, human impact has been largely due to the suppression of fire. In the Simcoe County Forests specifically, fire suppression was an important issue during the early years of reforesting substantial forest blocks. Fire occurrences and impacts have been very modest as a result of the substantial resources allocated to fire control including fires guards, monitoring, staff training, and equipment.
Use of Controlled Burns in Simcoe County
In order to achieve our stated goals, planned interventions or 'silvicultural treatments' are required. Silvicultural treatments are intended to emulate the natural disturbance patterns to which different forest types have become adapted while maintaining or enhancing structure and diversity.
Shelterwood silvicultural systems emulate ground fires that clear the understory and cause partial mortality of the overstory, allowing a new, relatively even-aged stand to develop. This approach is most commonly utilized by the County of Simcoe to mimic the conditions required to regenerate white pine and in some cases red oak.
Controlled Burn on Museum Tract
In September 2018, the County conducted a controlled burn of 30 hectares (74 acres) of the site. Formerly owned and operated by CP Rail, the vegetation used to consist of largely non-native plants and trees. On April 15, the County of Simcoe Forestry Department began the largest planting operation in decades in order to restore the Museum Tract as a healthy ecosystem and important wildlife habitat - planting seven native species of trees, including the Jack Pine, which will account for over two-thirds of all the new trees to be planted on the tract.
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