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City of Saskatoon conducting prescribed fires at 5 parks

City of Saskatoon officials said the prescribed fires initiative is part of their strategy to enhance and conserve the biodiversity of naturalized areas in parks. File / Global News

The City of Saskatoon will be conducting small-scale prescribed fires at five parks during October and November.

The prescribed fires will take place in the naturalized areas within Heritage, Lakewood, Hyde, Donna Birkmaier and Gabriel Dumont parks.

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Officials said the initiative is part of their strategy to enhance and conserve the biodiversity of naturalized areas in the parks.

The fires replicate the natural renewal process of grasslands by removing the thatch layer that develops over time, according to a backgrounder from the city.

Other benefits cited include helping native plants outcompete weeds, enhancing and conserving the habitat for wildlife, helping manage invasive species and reducing the risk of wildfires.

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Only a small area is burned, and shrubs and trees are not impacted.

Any smoke from the fire will dissipate quickly once the prescribed burn is over, according to the backgrounder.

The prescribed fires are performed by trained parks staff and members of the Saskatoon Fire Department will be on-site or on-call to help manage the fire if needed.

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Officials said the timing of the prescribed fires is determined by weather and wind conditions and notifications will be sent on the city’s alert system and on social media channels.

Signage will also be placed to alert park visitors.

Residents are being asked by the city to respect work zones and ensure dogs are leashed when walking through the parks.

The city said the program is anticipated to start in mid-October.

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