City of Toronto holds prescribed burn in High Park on Friday morning

A photo of a prescription burn in High Park in 2012.

Part of High Park is deliberately set on fire on Friday morning.

This is called a prescribed burn, and the controlled fire will burn low to the ground, consuming dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems. Larger trees will not be harmed.

Depending on weather conditions, the City of Toronto will ignite the fire around 11 a.m.

Drivers should note that High Park will be closed to vehicles at 7am tomorrow. Motorists should be able to reach the park in the early evening after the smoke has cleared.

To ensure the safety of park users, pedestrian access to the fires and some surrounding areas will also be temporarily restricted.

Staff will be on site to ensure the public is kept a safe distance from the burn site.

A contracted “fire chief” with extensive experience in complex prescription burns has been appointed to draft and execute Toronto’s 2022 burn plan with the help of city personnel. The Toronto Fire Department and the Toronto Police Department are both aware of the planned fire and will assist if necessary.

Typically, it smokes from the prescribed burn elevators and will not affect surrounding neighborhoods, the city said in an April 28 release.

“However, it is possible that some smoke will reach residential areas near the parks. People with asthma and those who are highly sensitive to poison ivy should limit their exposure to the smoke by staying indoors and keeping windows closed,” they said.

“Some people choose to leave the general area of ​​the park on the day of the fire if they are concerned about the smoke.”

As part of the City of Toronto’s long-term management plan to protect and conserve Toronto’s rare black oak forests and savannas, prescription burns have been performed safely in High Park for nearly 20 years.

Before European settlement, controlled burns were used by indigenous people as a way to manage and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems, such as the black oak savannas in High Park.

Visit the City’s Trees in Toronto webpage for detailed information on prescribed burning and restrictions.

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