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I hadn't been out to my usual haunt near Alton, Illinois, for a while and it looked like there might possibly be an interesting sunset, so I drove out this evening.

As I got closer, I saw a thick column of smoke rising into the sky. I wondered what this might be?

I soon found out. The park service were burning scrub in the lands set aside as a bird sanctuary.A flame thrower and dry grass make a potent combination. Large areas of the meadow were now black or white with ash.

I watched it for a while and then made a brief stop by the riverside to see if anything would emerge from the fairly thick bank of low cloud hovering over the horizon. As often happens, something did.