Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

April 26, 2018

Watch for workers as prescribed burn season begins on southeast Minnesota highways

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Motorists in southeast Minnesota may see smoke from prescribed burns beginning Monday, April 30, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Six sites in southeast 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. 

The sites scheduled for burning in southeast Minnesota are:

  • Interstate 90 near Eyota
  • Highway 52 near Harmony
  • Highway 218 near Blooming Prairie
  • Highway 56 near LeRoy
  • Interstate 35 north of Albert Lea
  • Steele County south of Owatonna

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, 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 511mn.org, call 5-1-1 or log on to mndot.gov.