KITCHENER -- The rare Charitable Research Reserve carried out a prescribed burn on about 18.5 hectares of land near Blair Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Officials with the reserve said they're working with the University of Guelph to "reset the clock" on habitat succession and "enhance the prairie ecosystem" in the area.

The burn was scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The fire burned 22 acres of land.

"It's necessary every five or six years or so to really maintain the prairie habitat in good condition," rare Executive Director Stephanie Sobek-Swant said.

The goal is to get rid of unwanted growth.

"Thatch build up, invasive species, especially invasive trees," said U of G researcher Andrew MacDougall.

The group was monitoring local humidity and moisture levels for weeks ahead of the burn.

"The sweet spot is where it's dry enough to ignite, but not so dry that it would be in any way hazardous conditions," Sobek-Swant said.

The burn team said safety was a priority and they make sure wildlife has left the area before starting the fire.

"It sweeps across the field, I think 40 km/h," MacDougall said. "So, you can't outrun it."

Officials said benefits from the burn will likely flourish in July.

"There will be millions of flowers and pollinators," MacDougall said. "It will be spectacular."

The reserve area is an urban land trust and environmental institute in Waterloo-Wellington.

With reporting by CTV News Kitchener's Heather Senoran