Motorists traveling through southwest Minnesota during the next few weeks may experience smoky conditions while MnDOT crews are conducting prescribed burns, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Prescribed burns are weather dependent and difficult to plan more than a few days in advance. If optimal weather conditions permit, crews may conduct prescribed burns along the following highways.
- Highway 12 from Willmar to just east of Kerkhoven
- Highway 23 from Willmar to Raymond
- Highway 19 from Franklin to Gibbon
Healthy roadside vegetation is necessary for preventing weed infestations, controlling erosion, protecting water quality, and keeping roadways safe. Fire is an important aspect of vegetation management because many types of plants need fire for ideal growth. It’s used in combination with mowing, herbicide application, biological control and planting in MnDOT’s integrated roadside vegetation management program.
Fire promotes tall native grasses and flowering plants that can trap blowing snow and can reduce drifting across the road. Native prairie vegetation is planted along highway right of way to reduce the amount of mowing needed.