WINDSOR, ONT. -- Parks Canada plans to conduct prescribed burns at Point Pelee National Park to help restore some of the park’s rare ecosystems starting Monday if conditions are favourable.

The controlled fires are planned to continue through to April 15.

“This prescribed fire program is an important part of Point Pelee National Park’s Lake Erie Sand Spit Savannah restoration project,” a Parks Canada news release says. “Prescribed fires contribute to the restoration of the park’s globally rare savannah ecosystem by releasing nutrients, reducing the number of exotic plants, preventing the spread of invading shrubs and trees, encouraging native seed germination, and improving habitat for species at risk which depend on open, sunny savannah habitat to survive.”

The 2021 burns will be located at the orientation area near the park entrance, the visitor centre garden, the area north of the visitor centre and along the southern portion of the western shoreline.

The fires will only be set when the environmental and weather conditions are suitable, Parks Canada says. “Extensive planning and careful execution” will ensure the fires are controlled within the mentioned areas.

Some smoke will be visible, staff will monitor wind conditions to direct smoke away from public areas.

Parks Canada says Point Pelee will remain open to visitors during the prescribed fire period, but some areas will be closed for a little while for the safety of staff and visitors.