Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

May 9, 2019

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

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Motorists in northwest Minnesota may see smoke from prescribed burns beginning Thursday, May 9, as crews conduct a controlled burn on Hwy 102 between Crookston and Fertile.

Three sites in northwest Minnesota will be burned, weather conditions permitting, in the coming weeks. Motorists will encounter signs as they approach the burn areas warning of the potential of smoke.

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. 

Additional sites scheduled for burning in northwest Minnesota are:

  • Hwy 59 between Thief River falls and Halma
  • Hwy 75 between Crookston and Stephen

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.

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