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Burning the forest floor

Rick Madonik, Staff Photographer


Every year, or two, the City of Toronto undertakes a "controlled" burn project in some city parks. This is meant to clear the underbrush of debris which also helps protects some endangered species from other vegetation.

What is also does is cause a number of good folk to call 911 and report a fire. The fire produces large amounts of smoke, which quickly dissipates, but can envelope adjoining neighbourhoods or streets. The event is weather dependent and usually publicized but it often catches many off guard. It also draws out some locals to see what is going on.

This year, Land and Forest Consulting, undertook the burn project. Using a combination of gasoline and diesel fuel with a drip can, the ignition flame is laid by a fire starter on ATV and on foot. The fire is designed to burn into itself with others guarding the perimeter.

The assignment has some challenges as the media is limited to where we can go but it often lends itself to some interesting pictures, if only, because such a fire in the heart of a city is rarely seen. The fact it is a "controlled" burn allows us to get closer to the scene than the norm.

Following are some of the pictures I uploaded for both the web, and paper's, use.


Fred Bruin, Fire Boss for this burn (left) speaks with one of the firestarter's who drives an ATV which drips the firestarting solution of gasoline and diesel along the edge of the burn area.


A worker driving an ATV drips the firestarting solution of gasoline and diesel along the edge of the burn area. 


The combination of diesel fuel and gasoline drips onto the forest floor.


A worker from the City Park's department heads out with a sign to notify residents and motorists along Parkdale Avenue about the burn about to happen.


Dave Taylor, of Lands and Forest Consulting, drips fire along the eastern border of High Park.


The fire, which remains relatively small, does flame up at points as it consumes underbrush.


As the smoke starts to clear, the scene looks apocalyptic.



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