Prescribed Ditch Fires begin today

Prescribed Ditch Fires begin today Click to Enlarge

(KNSI) - Drivers and residents may see smoke along some interstates and highways beginning on Monday as crews conduct prescribed fires.

Details are in the following news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Local residents and motorists along Interstate 94, Highway 371 and Highway 23 in Central Minnesota may see smoke from roadside prescribed fires beginning Monday, May 7.

Traffic should not be affected and all roadways will remain open.

The prescribed fires are scheduled for the following areas:

• Highway 23 between Rockville and Richmond

• I-94 near MnROAD in Albertville

• Highway 371 near Fort Ripley

Prescribed fires may also occur alongside other state roads in Central Minnesota throughout the year.

Motorists approaching prescribed fire work zone should slow down, watch for crews, and navigate with caution.

The prescribed fires are controlled by trained crews and conducted within MnDOT rights of way during optimal weather conditions to ensure safety and effectiveness. MnDOT performs the prescribed burning of grassland vegetation along many roadsides and on state owned properties, which provides for optimal vegetation health. Healthy roadside vegetation provides safer clear zones, stabilizes soil, conveys runoff, and treats stormwater runoff. Healthy roadside vegetation also provides additional benefits such as preserving populations of rare species and making roadsides more attractive. Fire also 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.

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