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March 24, 2006
Urban Forestry plans controlled burns in early spring, resulting in temporary closure of High Park
The City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry will undertake a prescribed or “controlled” burn in High Park in late March to mid-April. The actual date of the prescribed burn will be planned to coincide with ideal weather conditions and will be announced 24-hours prior to the burn.

Park use will be restricted during the burn. Notices will be placed at entrances to High Park advising users that the park is closed. People walking in the park will be restricted from entering areas that are being burned.

Prescribed burns have been safely executed in the past by Urban Forestry, and are part of the long-term management plan to protect and sustain Toronto’s rare black oak woodlands and savannahs in the city’s High Park, Lambton Park, and South Humber Park. These rare vegetation communities are at risk of extinction in Toronto and throughout North America.

Under ideal weather conditions, the smoke from the prescribed burns will lift and will not affect surrounding neighbourhoods. It is possible however that some smoke will reach residential areas near the parks. Individuals with asthma or high sensitivity to poison ivy may wish to limit their exposure to smoke by keeping windows closed or leaving the area on the afternoon of the burn.

A “fire boss” with extensive provincial fire fighting and prescribed burning experience has written the approved burn plan. “Fire boss” is an Ontario designation for a certified individual who has full responsibility for planning and carrying out the burn with a qualified crew. City staff from Parks and Recreation Division will assist with the burn, and Toronto Fire and Police Services will assist as required by the fire boss.

During the months to follow, City staff, scientists and the volunteers from the community, including members of the High Park Citizen’s Advisory Council, will monitor and analyze the beneficial effects of the burn and implement additional management.

Media contacts:

Richard Ubbens

Parks, Forestry & Recreation media hotline



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