High Park burn

High Park was just lit on fire

The City of Toronto started a fire in High Park on Monday near some treasured rare black oak trees to prove that bureaucrats can be edgy, too.

No, not really — but only the very end of that sentence is a lie.

Urban forestry staffers did set fire to High Park on Monday afternoon as part of the city's long term long-term management plan to restore and protect Toronto's black oak woodlands and savannahs.

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Flames can be good for trees, as it turns out, when they're carefully controlled and supervised by what city officials call a "Fire Boss."

This year's "prescribed burn" was the 15th to take place in High Park since 2000, according to a city notice, with the intention of clearing out dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems so that larger plants can more easily grow and thrive.

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"Fire-dependant ecosystems like black oak savannahs contain prairie plants that respond positively to prescribed burning," reads the notice, "and grow more vigorously than they would in the absence of fire."

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Burns also work to remove invasive species and maintain habitats for birds, butterflies and insects.

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Public access was restricted in High Park on Monday, but at least a few people managed to get close enough for some really cool photos and video footage.

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The fires, which run very low to the ground and don't harm large trees, burned from about 2 p.m. to 5 p.m on Monday.

High Park Nature reports that this year's burn took place later into the calendar year than usual on account of "old snow still piled at the edge of the burn site."

Lead photo by

Peter Grevstad/Instagram


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