Smoke from the fire of a controlled burn was highly visible from Route 53, Rand Road, Arlington Heights Road, Lake Cook Road and Dundee Road Thursday afternoon.
Smoke on the horizon visible in Arlington Heights about 1:30 p.m. Thursday was from a controlled burn at Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve just north of Lake Cook Road and just west of Schaeffer Road. The controlled burn was performed by specially trained staff of the Lake County Forest Preserves.
Controlled burns are utilized to avoid historical, larger fires that have naturally occurred in Lake County for thousands of years. The fires decrease invasive woody plants, remove dead leaves, and expose the soil and seeds to the sun’s rays by eliminating the shade of dead brush from last season. The aftermath encourages native plants to grow more vigorously and to produce more flowers and seed, increasing their populations. Wildlife populations are adapted to survive the burns. Most animals are safe underground or high up in trees. Some animals evacuate the area on their own to avoid fires. Controlled burns are scheduled to avoid the breeding season of native wildlife.
Wind and other weather conditions are monitored daily to help determine which preserves are selected for controlled burns, and to prevent burns from getting out of control, or blowing too much smoke on roadways. Local fire and police departments are notified before and after each controlled burn. Forest Preserve staff closely monitor each burn with appropriate safety equipment and, if necessary, stays overnight on site and performs a fire watch for rekindling.