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Partial burn ban in effect in PEC

UPDATE APRIL 20 – Partial burn ban in effect.
UPDATE APRIL 19 – Total burn ban now in effect.

APRIL 16 – The County fire department declared a partial burn ban for all wards within the County of Prince Edward.

A dry spring has set a dangerous scene for grass and brush fires all over the Quinte region and burn bans are also in effect in Tyendinaga, Centre Hastings and Madoc Township.

In the County, only contained burning is permitted.

Valid Burning Permits must be activated by calling the Automated Burn Notification Hotline at 613.476.7232 or 613.962.3497 and entering the four-digit number at the top of your Burning Permit. If you have a rotary phone, dial 613.476.2345.

Permits are valid from date of issue to December 31st of the year issued and cost $15.

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  1. Just in the way of clarification. Ken Globe’s reference was to the Sawguin Marsh fire. My reference was to the Big Island Marsh. Two different marshes; two different situations. However, I will concede that there may be some benefits. Certainly prairie grass fires in the past, and now as prescribed burns benefit rare ecosystems such as oak savannas, destroying encroaching woody vegetation and promoting growth of native plants.

    However, prescribed burns aren’t done at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. These are arsonists, pure and simple. I almost caught one once as he was leaving the Big Island causeway. Unfortunately, my Jeep Cherokee wasn’t as powerful as his truck. Don’t know what he had under the hood, but he was sure burning rubber! The concern here is safety, not whether it’s a good or bad practice.

  2. Mark says:

    I think a controlled marsh fire if there is such a thing could be beneficial in ridding old dead plants from strangling new vibrant growth. Old dead growth can strangle as well and prevent water flow, eventually creating a semi bogged land mass.

  3. Chuck says:

    Oh oh! I guess the question now is, is a good old marsh fire a “form of renewal” or a myth?

  4. Ken Globe says:

    Terry’s comments after the big fire in 2012

    Terry Sprague says:
    Friday, August 31st, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    Wildlife loss may not be that great. The marsh there has no open water and is starting the slow process of evolving into a land mass as can be seen by the shrub willows and dogwoods growing out there. Because of the current condition of the marsh, there is not much diversity of wildlife. At this time of the year, marsh birds such as rails, marsh wrens, swamp sparrows, etc. will have fledged and be in flight. There are concerns though for slow moving turtles and frogs with nowhere to go due to low or non existent water because of the low water table. On the brighter side, that marsh hasn’t seen a fire in over 50 years,resulting in considerable dead and flamable material, so it may be a form of renewal. The cattails will return with vigour next spring, and any trees or shrubs burned will regenerate in time. That is not a healthy marsh by any stretch of the imagination, so the fire may have actually done some good, albeit an unwelcome strain on already exhausted fire departments who have had to contend with more than their fair share of fires this season.

  5. Better and more enthusiastic growth though leads to a situation that occurred at the Big Island Marsh resulting in the entire wetland becoming choked and existing waterways closed. Biodiversity suffers and fish migration ceases. Hence, the reason for the massive rehabilitation and channelization project that took place there three years ago. The claim that marsh fires are a benefit, is a myth held only by arsonists. Whether fires affect the wildlife living there is debatable. Many of the bird species have not yet nested and I suspect most amphibians will burrow down into the lower growth where the fire will pass right over them. These marsh fires move very quickly and generally does not affect the growth at the base, but fiercely burns the upper levels of growth. I have walked into a marsh after a fire and have seen papers and other litter that weren’t even singed, but everything above them was burned off. Obviously, some mortality happens. Is it substantial? I don’t think anyone really knows for sure. As far as I am concerned, all marsh fires do at 2:00 in the morning is terrify local residents as the fire spreads onto adjoining fields and ignites rail fences and, even buildings.

  6. Dennis Fox says:

    Thanks to those who explained the reason for a partial ban. I didn’t consider the amount of dead vegetation above the damp ground – it makes a lot of sense. It might help the public to understand the Fire Dept. decisions if a bit of effort was made to explain things to the public. But I would still like to know how such decisions are arrived at. Is it by consulting with other FDs in the surrounding area, with the Conservation Authority, or are there regularly carried out tests within a community, or does it boil down to one person making the decision? If it is the latter, who is that person and what is that decision based on?

  7. Chuck says:

    Terry, I think some have the long held view that burning the marsh restores it to better growth. I am sure you can explain why that is not true and the damage to wildlife it causes.

  8. It is not so much the condition of the ground as it is the dead grass above it which right now is tinder dry since the new growth hasn’t emerged yet in appreciable amounts to offset that. That’s why there is a burn ban every spring at this time. There have been numerous grass and brush fires throughout the Quinte area. Since April 1st, we have had only 15 mm rain. That’s not very much. March was the wet month. Which reminds me – it’s that time of the year again when some brain dead, knucklehead idiot will set the Big Island Marsh ablaze again at 2:00 a.m.

  9. Chris says:

    The same thing happened last year, as I recall. A burn ban in early spring, when the ground was still wet, then it was lifted a month later when it seemed to be really dry.

  10. Dennis Fox says:

    I know that we didn’t get a lot of snow this year, but it seemed that we had a lot of rainy weather for months. Does anyone know how the fire department can determine when a fire ban is warranted? Do they have some kind of test or is it guess work?

  11. wevil says:

    does not seem that it has been a dry spring

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