We had not even put the notices in the neighbor’s mailboxes so they would not panic when they saw the billowing smoke. Both of us voiced our concerns but no one listened. The professional burn crew arrived along with some college students, who were conscripted as extra helpers, in case the fire got away from them. Not a good sign. Then I noticed a guy with a red jacket who turned out to be the Township fire chief. He trusted the burners more than I did. Nagging in my mind was the controlled burn that got away in Colorado and was still burning.
Because of the winds the team did a total back burn. In other words they went against the wind, because to go with the wind might cause an out-of-control blaze. The most crucial part was the perimeter—start the fire along all sides of the 8 acres and let it burn to the middle. The winds were muted on the side near the woods .
The prairie burn was not as spectacular as other years, as generally the flames stayed low to the ground. But I wanted to take a video so I was right in the middle of the smoke and debris. At one point a tall dust-devil swirled madly right in front of me, which I captured on my iPhone. I have not yet learned how to get that video clip on this website so you get just one moving frame.
Today the air is calm and the vast field is a sea of black ash. Early spring, high winds and worried residents aside—the job is done.