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Here's why you may smell smoke near Toronto's High Park today

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The City of Toronto will conduct its annual burn of High Park on Tuesday.

A “deliberately set and carefully controlled” fire will burn in five areas at the park, near Bloor Street and Parkside Drive in the city’s west end, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

It is contingent on favourable weather conditions.

The process is part of Toronto’s long-term plan to restore and protect rare Black Oak woodlands and savannahs within the park. The fire burns close to the ground, officials say, and consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems. Larger trees should not be impacted.

The idea is that the flames leave behind scorched earth so that vegetation can come back stronger and healthier.

Photos from the park last year showed heavy smoke encompassing trees and vegetation as officials monitored the flames. In some moments, the trees were hardly visible under a thick wall of smoke.

Adam Taylor, a crew member from Lands and Forests Consulting, walks with a sandwich on a shovel in Toronto’s High Park on April 13, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Officials say that smoke from the fire should dissipate in ideal conditions, however “weather changes could cause smoke to drift and impact residential areas near the park.”

Residents are encouraged to close their windows or consider leaving the area.

Some areas within the park will be closed to the public due to the burn. The park will also be closed to public vehicles.

Dancer Angela Boyer watches a ceremony before a controlled burn, intended to benefit the space's ecosystem, in Toronto’s High Park, Thursday, April 13, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Prior to the event, a ceremony and smudge led by Indigenous Elder Vivian Recollet will take place.

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