The City of Toronto will conduct a prescribed burn tomorrow in High Park, as current forecasts predict optimal weather conditions. High Park will be closed to vehicles starting at 7 a.m. tomorrow and will be re-opened once smoke has dissipated by early evening. Pedestrian access to the burn sites and some surrounding areas will be temporarily restricted, to ensure the safety of park users.
A mandatory information briefing will be held in High Park immediately prior to ignition, to go through plans for the burn and any safety considerations with those in attendance. A spokesperson will be on site and there will be an opportunity for media photography and filming after the start of the burn.
Date: Friday April 29, 2022
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Location: Grenadier Cafe parking lot, 200 Parkside Dr., High Park
Access: Media vehicles have restricted access to enter the park from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Media vehicles may enter from Parkside Drive and High Park Boulevard (access is easiest when travelling southbound on Parkside Drive, turning right at the first stop sign and following Centre Road up to the restaurant). Media must be able to present credentials from an accredited media outlet.
The prescribed burn in High Park is expected to take place at approximately 11:00 a.m. depending on weather conditions. Staff will be on site to ensure members of the public remain a safe distance from the burn area.
A prescribed burn is a deliberately set and carefully controlled fire that burns low to the ground and consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems, but does not harm larger trees. The City has been safely executing prescribed burns in High Park for almost two decades.
Prior to European settlement, controlled burns were used by Indigenous people to manage and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems including the black oak savannahs in High Park. The City, in recognition of that history and in coordination with its Indigenous Affairs Office, is engaged in conversations with the Indigenous community about incorporating Indigenous knowledge and practices in High Park.
Prescribed burns are part of the City’s long-term management plan to protect and sustain Toronto’s rare black oak woodlands and savannahs. The City has contracted a fire boss with extensive experience in complex prescribed burns to create the 2022 burn plan and implement it with assistance from City staff. Toronto Fire Services and the Toronto Police Service have been notified and will assist if required.
Under ideal weather conditions, the smoke from the prescribed burns lifts and does not affect surrounding neighbourhoods. It is possible, however, that some smoke will reach residential areas near the parks. People with asthma and those highly sensitive to poison ivy should limit their exposure to the smoke by staying inside and keeping windows closed. Some people may choose to leave the general area of the park on the day of the burn, if concerned about the smoke.
Detailed information about the prescribed burn and restrictions is available at www.toronto.ca/trees.
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