Blaze at Point Pelee
By Torcia Velthuizen
Officials at Point Pelee National Park and the Leamington Fire Department attended to a fire on Wednesday night.
While it is park policy to let fires in the marsh run its course, firefighters were alerted to the fire at 8 p.m. to prevent the blaze from spreading to the boardwalk and surrounding infrastructure. Point Pelee has a prescribed fire program to encourage regeneration of the rare savannah ecosystem and prevent the spread of invading shrubs and trees, but this fire was not part of the program.
By Thursday morning the fire had spread through 125 hectares of marsh area and fire line is said to have been half a kilometre long.
“There’s many reasons a fire can start but due to the information gathered after the fact we have listed the fire as undetermined and park officials will investigate further,” said deputy Mike Brandt of the Leamington Fire Department.
Brandt said it was rare for Point Pelee to have tense fires like the one that occurred Wednesday night.
“The last large fire incident was July 17, 1988. It was caused by a lightning strike in the marsh.”
The fire was out by 10 a.m. Thursday and the park was open to the public by 7 a.m. Friday.