If you see fire at High Park later this month, don’t panic! According to the City of Toronto, it “will conduct traditional and prescribed burns – used across North America – in High Park, as part of a long-term management plan to proactively protect rare Black Oak Savannahs.” Here’s what you need to know about the prescribed burn at High Park in Toronto this month.

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“A traditional and prescribed burn is a deliberately set and carefully controlled fire that burns low to the ground and consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems but does not harm larger trees,” says the City of Toronto.

“Toronto’s Official Tree, the oak tree, has particularly thick, fire-resistant bark.”

If you are wondering when you can expect to see fire, an exact date hasn’t been selected – yet.

The date is selected 24 to 48 hours in advance of the burn based on the forecast.

According to the City of Toronto, “The burn will take place over one day at several locations within the park and is dependent on weather conditions, which are being monitored so that the burns can take place when optimal conditions are expected.”

“Maintaining and protecting the rare black oak woodlands and savannahs in High Park is of immense benefit for all who enjoy the majesty of High Park, residents and visitors alike,” says Councillor Gord Perks for Parkdale-High Park.

Indigenous peoples used traditional burns to care for and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems including the Black Oak woodlands and Savannahs in High Park.

The City of Toronto engages with Indigenous representatives to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and ceremony into the High Park burn in honour of the important history.

If you’re hoping to get up close and personal, you may not be able to do so.

High Park will be closed to vehicular access on the day of the burn and people will be restricted from entering some areas.

Park users should expect limited access near active burn sites with portions of some multi-use trails being temporarily closed to cyclists and pedestrians for 30 to 45 minutes between the hours of 11:30 AM and 6:00 PM.

If you want to stay in the know, check park entrances and the surrounding community for notices which will be placed to advise the public of when the burn will take place.

Now if you see a fire in High Park this month, there’s no need to worry, Toronto!