Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

The Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department reported that 11 residences along Wheatland Drive sustained melted siding due to … radiant heat from a [prescribed burn] for land management purposes. Prescribed fires are often set in prairies, wetlands and other natural areas to burn off invasive plants and allow ecological regeneration.

Deputy Fire Chief Chris Olsen confirmed that the company that conducted the burn was McGinty Bros. Inc., based in Long Grove, and that the company had been contracted by the homeowners association of the Harvest Run subdivision, where the damaged homes are located.

Olsen said McGinty had the proper permits issued by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to do the work [and that] … it is common this time of year to see prescribed burns. Rarely do they get out of control and require assistance from the fire department to put out, he said. The fire department said it prevented further damage to nearby homes while putting out the fire. No injuries were reported.

[local resident] Rick Dowell, said he watched the fire being started in the wetlands near his property at about noon. After a short while, however, he said the flames shot higher than his barn and the workers in the wetlands appeared to become flustered. “I saw the workers running to put it out, they seemed a little panicked.