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April 6, 2004
Forestry plans controlled burns in early spring, resulting in temporary closure of High Park
Toronto Urban Forestry Services will undertake a prescribed or "controlled"
burn in High Park in early to mid-April. The actual date of the prescribed burn
will be planned to coincide with ideal weather conditions and will be announced
48-hours prior to the burn. A small section on the north end of the park may be
burned on a second day. This procedure will take approximately 45 minutes and
will not require park closure.

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
Services 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 the 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 volunteers from the
community, including members of the High Park Citizen's Advisory Committee,
will monitor and analyze the beneficial effects of the burn and implement
additional management.

Media contact:
Richard Ubbens, City Forester, Parks and Recreation, 416-392-1894



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