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April 14, 2000
Prescribed Burn in High Park
Forestry Services - The City of Toronto advises that a prescribed burn will
take place in High Park tomorrow, Saturday, April 15, 2000. The burn, from 1
p.m. to approximately 4 p.m., will target a 12-hectare site.

A prescribed burn is a deliberately set and carefully controlled fire. The
burn is part of an ongoing management program aimed at rejuvenating and
restoring remnants of black oak savannah, a rare ecosystem in North America.
Savannahs are dependent on periodic fire to maintain their open, park-like
character and rich variety of tallgrass and prairie species. The suppression
of natural fires in High Park has enabled exotic invasive trees, shrubs and
other plants to invade the savannah and replace native vegetation.

In 2000, five separate sites will be burned. Phased burning of the remaining
natural areas of the park will take place over a period of eight years. Access
to some areas of the park will be restricted during the burn.

The prescribed burn will:
- reduce competing invasive woody plants, herbs and grasses,
- stimulate the growth of black oak seedlings, and other native woody species
- encourage the germination of rare native wildflowers and grasses.

The burn will have the appearance of a small grass fire. A prescribed burn
expert with extensive provincial experience and staff from the City of Toronto
Fire Department will set and control the fire. Staff from the Toronto Humane
Society will be on site to assist with protecting or moving wildlife, should
this be required.

During the months following the burn, scientists and dedicated volunteers from
the community, including members of the High Park Citizen's Advisory Committee,
will help the City to monitor its beneficial effects on the black oak savannah
and other natural habitats.

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