City of Toronto Urban Forestry is planning to undertake a prescribed (or “controlled”) burn in High Park in early spring 2013.
Weather conditions and ground conditions are being monitored by City staff and burn consultants to determine the appropriate time window for the prescribed burn. Once ideal weather conditions are achieved, a News Release will be issued to notify the public. This News Release will be issued 24 – 48 hours before burning is to commence. The highlighted areas on the map show the planned burn areas. During the implementation of the burn, there likely will be temporary rolling road and trail closures in High Park. No access into burn areas will be permitted to ensure the safety of park users.
Prescribed burns are part of Urban Forestry’s long-term management plan to restore and protect Toronto’s rare Black Oak woodlands and savannahs. A prescribed burn is a deliberately set and carefully controlled fire that burns low and consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems, but does not harm larger trees. Fire-dependant ecosystems, such as High Park's Black Oak savannah, contain prairie plants that respond positively to prescribed burning, and grow more vigorously than they would in the absence of fire.
Under ideal weather conditions, the smoke from the prescribed burn will rise and not affect surrounding neighbourhoods. It is possible however that weather conditions might change and some smoke from burning vegetation could impact residential areas near the park.
It is recommended that all residents close windows or leave the area at the time of the burn to avoid any potential sensitivity to the smoke.
A High Complexity Fire Boss with extensive provincial fire fighting and prescribed burning experience has completed the burn plan for 2013, and will be implementing the burn. City staff from Parks, Forestry and
Recreation Division will assist with the burn. Toronto Fire and Police Services will be notified and will assist as required.
This prescribed burn in High Park follows the tremendous success of the Black Oak woodlands and savannah restoration program in High Park, initiated in 2000. This restoration program has been greatly supported by local residents and the broader High Park volunteer community.
For more information about the prescribed burn program and ongoing forest restoration management, please call Urban Forestry at 416-392-0380, visit the Ravines section of this web site or call 311.
Community Involvement and Programs within High Park