What Was That Smoke Plume to the South on Sunday?

Answer: a controlled burn in the Cook County Forest Preserve along La Grange Road.

If following the Chicago Bears' 51-20 shellacking of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, you happened to wander outside of a home in the La Grange/Western Springs area and looked to the south, you might have noticed a massive plume of smoke rising high into the afternoon sky not too far away.

We noticed, too—so we went and had a look.

Turned out there was a predicated controlled burn being conducted by the Cook County Forest Preserve in the area around Suttonbush Slough, west of La Grange Road and south of 95th Street. (The area is also called Pulaski Woods and the Cranberry Slough Nature Preserve, and is part of the Paw Paw Woods Nature Preseve, according to Google Maps.)

The flames were actually really impressive; the burn came all the way up to the edge of La Grange Road and traffic was backed up pretty badly. Firefighters managing the burn were wandering the scorched landscape.

Controlled burns are a regular part of forest management for a variety of reasons, such as prevention of the danger of uncontrolled fires. 

Forest Preserve Staff didn’t let us stick around too long, citing safety concerns, but we did get a couple of photos. Check them out above!

Dan Rudnick November 05, 2012 at 03:49 PM
we're in Darien, Il. We saw the 'mushroom-type cloud'. We tried to find the source, and drove Rt. 83 South to Archer, Archer East to Lagrange Rd. Smoke seemed so thick, it's hard to believe that that smoke plume was caused by a 'controlled fire.' I'm sure if the Bears weren't playing, this would have been much bigger news. I turned around thinking the fire was another 30 miles away.
Darren McRoy November 05, 2012 at 04:01 PM
It was definitely a controlled burn. But from afar, it looked like an entire town was on fire! I was very surprised that I was unable to find any references to it anywhere online.
Karl Washington November 05, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I heard it was a controlled burn that got OUT OF CONTROL.....
Darren McRoy November 06, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Where'd you hear that? Looked fairly under control to me. I was just surprised nobody was told about it in advance. I searched all over Google News; nobody sent me any alerts, either.
Gerry November 06, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Traveling down Lagrane Road on Monday ..11/5/12 aprox..6pm.. got passed 95th going north and hit a thick cloudy fog ( by that fishing hole on the east side and a bit before)..rolled the window down and smelt what was like a campfire..the thick smoke fog lasted to about 87th light ...me and the suv went home smelling like a campfire..been thru fog but not that thick.....oh well hope the wild animals took cover...which on a Sunday (ABOUT 3 MONTHS AGO)..driving to work saved a baby doe on Lagrange Road near the last light before the 55 South exit...Mama was watching me as I picked up her pup and put to saftey ...before Mama and pup were crossing the street and Mama made it through ..but baby laid down on the yellow line ..I saved a life that day ..hope someone turns from above and returns the favor I havn't seen it yet ...count your blessings ..little baby doe...


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