Seasonal prescribed burns begin Monday on Highway 56 near Le Roy

(ABC 6 News) – Motorists on Highway 56 near Le Roy may see smoke from crews conducting a prescribed burn in Mower County on Monday, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

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. 

The Rochester Fire Department (RFD) and Rochester Parks and Recreation will also be conducting controlled prairie burns in the weeks ahead.

RELATED: Controlled prairie burns throughout Rochester to begin in coming weeks

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.