The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced that motorists on U.S. Highway 218 north of Austin may see smoke from crews conducting a prescribed burn in Mower County on Thursday, Nov. 30th.
Motorists will encounter signs as they approach the burn area warning of the potential of smoke north of Austin near Lansing. 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. Officials with MnDOT have noted that healthy roadside vegetation provides safer clear zones, stabilizes soil, conveys runoff and treats stormwater runoff. They added that 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 the highway right of way to reduce the amount of mowing needed.