Parks Canada staff are getting ready to start a fire in the Cape Breton Highlands as part of the first ever controlled burn in the national park.

The purpose of the burn is to study how fire burns in shrubbery and other low growth, said Anne-Claude Pépin, a resource conservation officer and project co-ordinator for the burn.

The area of the burn is about the size of one and a half football fields, which is further subdivided into 15 smaller squares.

"The idea is to gather information on the widest range of conditions as possible, so we’ll be burning one square under certain conditions and then ... wait for the wind to pick up or the temperature to go up and burn the next square and gather some information that is representative of your natural fire, but within certain safety boundaries," said Pépin.

Depending on the weather, the prescribed burn is scheduled to take place next week in a barren between Neils Harbour and Cape North.