City of Toronto Urban Forestry is planning to undertake a prescribed (or “controlled”) burn in High Park in early spring 2016. Weather and onsite ground conditions are currently being monitored by City staff and burn consultants to determine the appropriate time window for a prescribed burn.
Once ideal weather conditions are achieved and a burn date has been selected, a News Release will be issued to notify the public 24 – 48 hours before ignition. Stippled areas on the map indicate the planned burn zones in High Park. During the implementation of the burn, access may be temporarily restricted in areas near burn sites 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 to the ground and consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems, but does not harm larger trees. Fire-dependent
ecosystems, like Black Oak savannahs, 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 negatively affect surrounding neighbourhoods. It is possible, however, that weather conditions could change and smoke from burning vegetation could impact residential areas near the park. It is recommended that all residents close windows or leave the immediate area at the time of the burn to avoid any potential sensitivity to the smoke.
The 2016 burn will be the 13th prescribed burn in High Park. It follows on the tremendous success of the Black Oak woodland and savannah restoration programs which Urban Forestry began in 2000 in High Park, Lambton Park, and South Humber Park.
For more information about the prescribed burn program and ongoing urban forest management, please visit www.toronto.ca/trees, or call 311.