There have been some fires burning in Elk Island National Park lately, but there is nothing to fear. 

The park is in the process of conducting its annual prescribed fires around the Shirley Lake area this Spring. 

"We've actually already conducted two ignition operations so far," said James Cook, a fire management officer at EINP. "Our usual window runs from March 15 to April 30." 

"[The fires] are located in the Shirley Lake prescribed fire area, so that's to the southwest of Astotin Lake on the western side." 

These fires are done for the good of the ecosystem and are an essential part of maintaining the park. 

"They are mainly done for ecological restoration," said Cook. "The primary reason we are out there doing burning is to help the vegetation flip back to a little bit more grassland cover to improve the health of the grassland ecosystem generally." 

"That helps our grassland ecosystem-reliant species [in the park]." 

This won't be the end of the prescribed fires in the region. They also plan to conduct burns on the south side of the park later on in the Fall.

Of course, as is with any fire burning in the area, residents could potentially see some smoke in the area when these burns take place. 

"[Residents] may notice some smoky conditions," said Cook. "As much as possible, prescribed fires are located and conducted under conditions that limit the smoke produced and directed away from areas of human use." 

"Smoke cannot be eliminated even though we take great efforts to reduce it." 

For more information on these fires visit the EINP website here