Watch for workers as prescribed burn season begins on highways in northwest Minnesota


March 16, 2021

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be conducting prescribed burns near Highways 59, 75 and 102 in northwestern Minnesota this spring as weather conditions permit.

Tentatively, crews are planning to conduct controlled burns:

• March 17: near Highway 102 between mile markers 5 and 15 southeast of Crookston

• March 18-19: near Highway 75 between mile markers 325 and 340 north of Crookston

• Unscheduled: near Highway 59 between mile markers 364 and 374 north of Thief River Falls

Motorists will encounter signs as they approach the burn areas warning of the potential of smoke, and weather will be a controlling factor for when they take place. Motorists should be attentive and watch for the burn crews, who are monitoring these efforts. Prescribed burns are scheduled during optimal weather conditions to ensure safety and effectiveness.

MnDOT performs the prescribed burning of grassland vegetation along many roadsides, 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.

MnDOT urges motorists to always be attentive, drive with caution, slowdown in work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.

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