high park fire

High Park in Toronto is about to be lit on fire

High Park is going to be set on fire this month. And yes, it's going to be done on purpose.

Since 2000, the City of Toronto has been using fire as an effective tool to help restore and regenerate native plant species across High Park, most notably its rare Black Oak Savannah habitat.

Prescribed burning is a valuable tool used in specific areas to help maintain both the spread and good health among native plants.

Certain areas within High Park are reviewed every year for future prescribed fires, inspecting elements such as vegetation response, the population of both native and invasive species, as well as the general health of the plants in the area.

By setting these areas on fire, prairie plants such as black oaks can grow more vigorously than they would have before, thriving in an environment free of exotic species.

Since its debut, the prescribed burn management program has proven to be a beneficial tool. High Park is currently home to many rare species that, through the regular fires, end up thriving long term such as dryland bluevery, Indian grass and big bluestem.

Though these areas of High Park will be closed off and heavily monitored to ensure everyone's safety, the City of Toronto has warned that the burning "can produce short periods of smoke and reduced visibility in the neighbourhood" and has urged residents to keep their windows shut during the burn, especially those living nearby.

The exact date of the burn is not yet confirmed but City of Toronto officials previously hinted it was imminent and happening in April.

Lead photo by

Nicoli Oz Mathews

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