Urban Forestry is again planning for a prescribed burn in High Park for this spring 2013. They are currently beginning our notification process and will be circulating notices to community libraries, local community centres, and have put up park notices in High Park.
The City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division will undertake a prescribed or controlled burn in High Park in early to mid April. The actual date of the prescribed burn will be chosen to coincide with ideal weather conditions and will be announced 24 to 48 hours prior to the burn.
Park use will be restricted during the burn. Notices will be placed at park entrances advising users that the burn is taking place on the specific scheduled date. People walking in the park will be restricted from entering areas that are being burned, and park users should expect some temporary road closures in High Park on the day of the burn.
Prescribed burns have been safely executed in the past by the City’s Urban Forestry unit, and are part of the long-term management plan to protect and sustain Toronto’s rare black oak woodlands and savannahs in High Park, Lambton Park and South Humber Park. These rare vegetation communities are at risk of extinction not only in Toronto but throughout North America.
Under ideal weather conditions, the smoke from the prescribed burns will lift and will not affect surrounding neighbourhoods. However, it is possible that some smoke will reach residential areas near the park. Individuals with asthma or high sensitivity to poison ivy may wish to limit their exposure to smoke by staying inside and keeping windows closed, or leaving the area on the afternoon of the burn.
A Fire Boss with extensive provincial firefighting and prescribed burning experience has written the approved burn plan, and will be responsible for ignition. Fire Boss is an Ontario designation for a certified individual who has full responsibility for planning and carrying out a burn with a qualified crew. Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff will assist with the burn, and Toronto Fire Services and the police will also be on hand to assist as needed.
During the months to follow, City staff, scientists, naturalists and volunteers from the community will monitor and analyze the beneficial effects of the burn and undertake additional forest management if needed.”