high park burn 2024

High Park in Toronto was just set on fire and here's how it looked

Smoke billowed high into the sky around Toronto's High Park on Tuesday during an annual prescribed burn — and before you ask, no, the famous cherry blossoms were not harmed during this scheduled and controlled blaze overseen by the City.

The City of Toronto conducted the annual burn on Tuesday morning in a fiery spectacle that saw dried leaves, small twigs, and grass stems ignited as part of a long-term management plan to protect rare Black Oak Savannahs proactively.

Though these burns are not quite strong enough to damage larger trees like the City's official tree, the oak — which boasts particularly thick, fire-resistant bark — the controlled blaze helps maintain the health of the park's ecosystems (while also providing a yearly spectacle for locals).

Before the burn was ignited, a ceremony and smudge was led by Indigenous Elder Vivian Recollet, followed by a technical briefing for assembled media and spectators just outside of the Grenadier Cafe.

The blaze was finally lit just before noon, accompanied by drumming and dancing honouring the prescribed burn's Indigenous roots that long predated European colonization.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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