Controlled prairie burns throughout Rochester to begin in coming weeks

(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Fire Department (RFD) and Rochester Parks and Recreation will be conducting controlled prairie burns in the weeks ahead as the snow melts.

The controlled burns are a means of prairie grass maintenance and the areas targeted are those that are not typically mowed in the summer. They also reduce the risk of uncontrolled fires during dry seasons.

Prescribed burns are beneficial for prairie and native plant ecosystems because they:

  • Warm the soil and increase microbial activity, allowing new grasses and plants to grow.
  • Kill some invasive species and insect populations.
  • Allow more sunlight to penetrate the ground by burning off last season’s leaf and grass litter.

Prescribed burns require dry weather and low wind speeds, thus they cannot be scheduled in advance. These activities will occur Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. this spring.

Residents are encouraged to close their windows if they notice fire trucks staging next to the controlled burn areas as there is the potential for smoke or ash in the air.

2023 Controlled Burn Locations:

  • Cascade Lake Park, including the island
  • Century Hills
  • Essex Park
  • Fox Trails
  • Gamehaven Reserve
  • Homestead Prairie
  • Northern Hills Prairie
  • Prairie Crossings
  • Schmidt Park
  • Silver Lake

Locations that are not burned this spring will be prioritized in the fall.