Watch for workers conducting prescribed burns on Hwy 218 south of Austin
AUSTIN, Minn. — Motorists on Highway 218 south of Austin may see smoke from crews conducting a prescribed burn in Mower County on Tuesday, April 19, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Motorists will encounter signs as they approach the burn areas warning of the potential of smoke. Motorists should be attentive, slow down 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.
Motorists may encounter lane closures or lane shifts, uneven road surfaces, equipment and other unexpected obstacles when driving near or through work zones. MnDOT advises motorists to:
- Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
- Go hands-free and minimize other distractions (e.g., don’t eat or drink while driving).
- Follow posted speed limits; the fine for speeding in a work zone is $300.
- Avoid making lane changes within work zones.