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April 13, 2011
Prescribed burn in High Park scheduled for tomorrow
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation will undertake a prescribed or “controlled” burn in High Park on April 14, 2011. 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.
Current weather forecasts predict optimal conditions, with little or no precipitation anticipated, for a prescribed burn to occur on this date.

A media briefing to outline plans for the burn will be held tomorrow in the park at the Grenadier Café prior to the burn, likely in late morning or early afternoon. Fire crews will then disperse to specified areas of the park for simultaneous burning. A media advisory will be issued on the morning of April 14 with details about the media briefing and burn schedule, which is highly dependent on weather conditions.

Notices will be placed at the park entrances advising users of restricted park access during the burn. The burn will temporarily produce large amounts of smoke in the park and surrounding community. Under ideal weather conditions, the smoke will lift and will not affect adjacent surrounding neighbourhoods. It is possible, however, that some smoke from burning vegetation will reach residential areas near the park. It is recommended that all local residents close windows or leave the area at the time of the burn to avoid any potential sensitivity to poison ivy and smoke.

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. In order to survive, they depend on periodic fires, which kill off competing vegetation, enrich the soil and promote growth and germination of rare savannah species.

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 will assist with the burn, and Toronto Fire and Police Services will assist as needed.

During the months to follow, City staff, scientists and volunteers from the community will monitor and analyze the beneficial effects of the burn and implement additional site maintenance activities.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation



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