Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Oct. 20, 2021

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MnDOT conducting prescribed burns in northwest Minnesota


BEMIDJI, Minn. — Local residents, motorists and others in Kittson, Marshall and Polk counties may see smoke from roadside controlled burns. The prescribed fires are controlled by trained crews and conducted within MnDOT rights of way during optimal weather conditions to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Traffic should not be affected, and all roadways and trails will remain open. When weather conditions allow the prescribed burns will take place in the following locations:

Beginning October 25, weather permitting:

  • Highway 9 near Beltrami (RP 206 to 216)
  • Highway 59 Thief River Falls to Lake Bronson
  • Highway 75 from Stephen to Warren
  • Highway 102 from Crookston to Fertile

The fires are used to improve native vegetation and weed control.

Motorists will encounter signs as they approach the burn areas warning of the potential of smoke, and weather will be a controlling factor for when they take place. 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. 

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. 

For more information on MnDOT’s prescribed fire vegetation management program, visit mndot.gov/roadsides/vegetation/fire.html.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists to always drive with caution and slowdown in work zones.