Grass fires turn wild in Lake County
Grayslake, IL 7/5/12 Grayslake firefighters with the help of the Quad 2 foam truck try to hose down a smoldering peat bog at the end of Winchester, west of Rt. 83. The fire has been burning since Tuesday. Compounding the issue is the high temperatures. Grayslake firefighter/paramedic Frank Cordova works to keep himself hydrated with Gatorade. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 13, 2012 6:33AM
One firefighter is hospitalized and firefighting crews across the county have been chasing grass fires of various sizes because of the dry weather.
And, there is no end in sight.
Thirty fire departments were required to battle an 18-acre fire near 3448 Hidden Valley Road in Long Grove on July 4. The area is a wetland and small lake that dried up.
One firefighter was taken to Advocate Good Shepherd, near Lake Barrington, for heat-related illness.
One man was taken into custody by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office for questioning about the possible use of fireworks that started the fire. The wildfire was struck with 20,000 gallons of water that had to be trucked in to keep it from entering a wooded area. Subdivisions surround the area, Long Grove Fire Chief Robert Turpel said Thursday.
At 2:40 p.m. Thursday, Lake Bluff firefighters pulled a box alarm for a brush fire at routes 41 and 176 calling for trucks and crews from nearby departments, including Winthrop Harbor, Highland Park, Grayslake, Newport Township, Beach Park, Mundelein, Long Grove, North Chicago, Lake Villa and Libertyville.
The National Weather Service in Chicago said this weekend there is a 20 percent chance of rain and no definite chance of rain until late next week.
Grayslake Fire Department crews have been fighting a peat moss fire in an uninhabited area near Winchester Road and Route 83 that has been burning since Tuesday night. Firefighters used some foam to try and suppress the fire, and then at 9 a.m. Thursday, they were back with more smoldering taking place in the peat area of the wetland.
“The Alter Group brought in Mark Meade Excavating to use a backhoe to overturn the peat moss,” said Battalion Chief John Cookefair. “That usually does the trick.”
Cookefair said the fluffy material used in gardening can do a slow burn like mulch until the winds pick up and fan it into flames. No cause has been determined and fireworks are not believed to be suspect because the area is isolated from any homes.
Grayslake Fire Chief John Christian said firefighters responded to a house fire in a vacant home at 33649 N. Forest Drive in Gages Lake late Wednesday night that was started by unknown means.
When firefighters arrived on the scene at 11:41 p.m., fire had broken through a garage roof and extended a short way into the home’s attic.
“There were no injuries, but because of the heat we needed extra crews. The house was saved,” Christian said. The Greater Round Lake Area Fire Protection District and Libertyville, Gurnee and Mundelein departments helped at the scene.
“We’ve been running to brush fire after brush fire,” said Christian and other nearby departments have been doing the same. “It’s just so dry out there.”