Prescribed burns planned near southeastern Minn. highways

Motorists in southeastern Minnesota may see smoke from prescribed burns in the weeks ahead along various highways.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced several prescribed burns are scheduled this spring in southeastern Minnesota as weather conditions allow. The areas will begin in the next few weeks, weather permitting. Areas scheduled for burns this spring are:

—Interstate 35 near Clarks Grove and near the Iowa border.

—Highway 52 near Harmony and Canton

—Highway 56 by and near Rose Creek and Le Roy

—Interstate 90 near Eyota

—Highway 218 by and near Austin and Owatonna

Trained prescribed burn crews monitor these efforts. They are done to promote native prairie vegetation growth and control weeds and brush.

Prescribed burns are scheduled during optimal weather conditions to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Burning serves as a safety measure. Prescribed fire is used to control brush and small trees near the roadway, which would otherwise become safety hazards. Fire promotes tall native grasses and forbs that trap blowing snow and prevent it from drifting across the road.

Native prairie vegetation is planted along highway right of way to reduce the amount of mowing needed, which saves taxpayer money.

MnDOT urges motorists to always be attentive, drive with caution, slow down in www.dot.state.mn.us/workzone/ work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.

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