Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

.April 12, 2016

Orange barrels on a highway

Prescribed burns planned near southeastern Minnesota highways this spring

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Motorists in southeastern Minnesota may see smoke from prescribed burns beginning Wednesday, April 13 and in the weeks ahead along various highways, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Several prescribed burns are scheduled this spring in southeastern Minnesota as weather conditions allow. Burning will begin in two areas on Wednesday and Thursday, weather permitting. Areas scheduled for burns this week are:

  • Highway 52 east of Harmony at 10 a.m., Wednesday, April 13
  • Interstate 90 near Eyota at 9 a.m., Thursday, April 14

Other areas in southeastern Minnesota scheduled for burning this spring include:

  • Highway 56 between Rose Creek and Leroy in Mower County
  • Interstate 35 by Clarks Grove in Freeborn County
  • Highway 218 between Austin and Owatonna in Mower and Steele counties

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 work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org, call 5-1-1 or log on to www.mndot.gov.

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To learn more about funding Minnesota’s transportation system, visit Get Connected at www.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected.