Smoke was seen coming from Cuba Marsh near Cuba and Ela Roads in Lake Zurich Wednesday, but there was no reason to be alarmed.
Lake County Forest Preserve officials were conducting a controlled burn in Cuba Marsh as part of routine maintenance. Forestry Crew Chief Mark Speckan was in charge of the burn. He said it was done to control invasive plant species like buckthorn and honeysuckle.
“We did four burn units in Cuba Marsh,” he said. “We just burned all four burn units together because the conditions were right.”
Speckan explained that Forest Preserve officials check out weather conditions and direction of the wind before selecting an area to burn.
“We don’t want to smoke out a major road. We had a west-northwest wind which blew the smoke away from the roads, so there’s a lot that goes into selecting what units to burn,” Speckan said.
A major concern from residents when they hear about controlled burns is the wellbeing of the animals. Speckan said animals have instincts to leave the area when smoke and fire erupt.
“We have a lot of people tell us we’re harming the animals,” he said. “You’ll see everything jump out of the way (when the burn starts)…there was a raccoon who climbed a tree when the burn started. He waited until the fire was through and when it was over he came back down.”
Forest Preserve officials are sure to contact area fire and police departments, schools and sheriff’s offices to let them know about the burn ahead of time. Signs are also posted on nearby roadways to alert residents that this is a controlled burn and not to call 9-1-1.