Fires coming to High Park

The city is set to undertake a controlled burn in High Park sometime in mid-April, part of an ongoing effort to protect Toronto’s rare black oak woodlands.

The actual date is planned to coincide with ideal weather conditions and will be announced 24 to 48 hours prior to the burn.

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 burns are part of a long-term plan to protect black oak woodlands and savannas, a rare environmental landmark found in High Park, Lambton Park and South Humber Park.

These vegetation communities are at risk of extinction throughout North America. Periodic fires kill off competing vegetation, enrich soil and promotes growth and germination of the rare savanna species.

Park use is restricted during the burn, and park users should expect some temporary road closures in High Park on the day of the burn.

If the burn takes place during ideal weather conditions, the smoke from the burns generally doesn’t affect surrounding neighbourhoods. However, city officials warn that it is possible that some smoke will reach residential areas near the park.

High Park neighbours with asthma or high sensitivity to poison ivy should consider keeping windows closed or leave the area the afternoon of the burn.