Prairie Fires

“The real menace to the precious grass [in the Platte valley], aside from drouth, was the disastrous prairie fire. . . . According to John Wyeth it was the Indian custom to set fires to the high grass once or twice a year to start the game. James Clyman calculated that most prairie fires were caused by lightening, or ‘electric fluid,’ but there is ample evidence that white travelers did their share of the mischief. Frank Young reported a fire started deliberately by ox-teamsters in a playful mood, while on one occasion stage hands started one at night ‘for illumination.'”