When the sun is high in the summer sky, the prairie gets hazy from heat and humidity. The prairie and surrounding woods can get dry as tinder, and catch a blaze easily.
So in the springtime state and country forest employees, also trained in fighting forest fires, take to the prairies and woods to set controlled burn fires. They restore the prairies to their original state, and hopefully avoid fires in the summer. They set fires in sections and post signs all around to make sure no hikers wander mistakenly into the area.
I saw this firefighter with a group of other ones on my hike past a prairie. She was in full gear and busy at her task.
I’ll look forward to visiting the prairie again in the spring.