They are one of the fanciest local forest preserve districts, nothing like as big as Cook County, but with a very nice budget, thank you, and many very cool projects for supporting our incredibly lush northern Illinois ecosystem.
Today my husband and I took a walk in Wright Woods and discovered that the controlled burn program has begun there.
The forest floor is blackened for many acres, but the burned areas are weirdly contained, with the fire’s footprints sometimes following a track as narrow as a pair of horses might make with their hooves.
The air is full of the pungent smell of wet burned wood and the sweeter odor of burned leaves.
The whole woods looks as if someone realized their in-laws were coming for Thanksgiving, ran madly about, picked up all the random litter off the floor and tidied it away.
Or, in this case, burned it.
Native Americans were doing controlled burns of their own for centuries before Lake County got their program going.
LCFPD even has a fancy website with maps showing where and when the burns cause closures of various trails
But it looks really weird.
And like most things about this planet, the smell makes you realize the sheer size of nature, the immense number of living things surrounding us, and the power of an element like fire to transform.