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.

A post shared by Catherine Perry (@catpea33) on

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.

A post shared by Gerard Yee (@geeyee) on

"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."

A post shared by Mark Andrada (@markmandrada) on

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

A post shared by Andrew Hodge (@andrew_jhodge) on

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.

A post shared by Don Boyes (@don.boyes) on

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


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

An anti-masker bit a cop in downtown Toronto this weekend

Fireworks will be allowed on Victoria Day 2021 in Toronto and here are the rules

City of Toronto finally vows to clear all sidewalks of snow next winter

There's an invasive weed taking over Toronto right now that's actually delicious

A Toronto family has figured out an awesome patio dining hack for lockdown

Megabus expands service in Ontario after Greyhound permanently shuts down

Israel-Palestine conflict spills into the streets of Toronto as protest turns violent

Shoppers Drug Mart is now selling rapid tests for COVID in Ontario