CLARK COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI) - Lincoln Trail State Park in Marshall, Illinois is looking ahead. This is the time of year when Tom Hintz, the parks superintendent start thinking about fires, and not just bonfires.
"Prescription fire is our most effective and most important management tool that we have for ecological management in our parks."
But fires can quickly become a problem. Hintz says that's why his team takes special care when starting an intentional burn.
"Before we even light one match, we have a prescription burn plan, and that plan has to show a lot of different variables.
Where the wind will be coming out of, what the wind speeds are gonna be for that day, what the relative humidity is gonna be for that day."
Part of their safety plan is making sure the public is well informed about what is happening, along with making sure they are federally certified.
"We will have signs up that will let you know smoke is ahead, and there are some areas that the roads in the park will be closed off and you cannot drive in there."
The reason for the burn is simple...too many of one species can actually harm a plant.
Prescription burns bring back a much-needed diversity.
"So it's very important that we keep that balance, and we keep that diversity, and prescription fire is the best tool that we have to get that done"
And once the burn is done, everything will come back in the spring, better than before.