Rochester Fire Department, Parks and Rec to conduct controlled burns

Rochester Fire Department
Rochester Fire Department(kttc)
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 1:27 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Rochester Fire Department and Rochester Parks and Recreation are conducting controlled burns for prairie grass maintenance across the City in the coming weeks as the snow melts.

Areas targeted for maintenance are those that have prairie grasses that are not typically mowed in summer months.

Participation of the Rochester Fire Department provides a training opportunity for firefighters to experience situations that are hard to replicate in a normal training environment. Controlled burns also reduce the risk of uncontrolled fires during dry seasons.

Prescribed burns are beneficial for prairie and native plant ecosystems for the following reasons:

  • They warm the soil and increase microbial activity, allowing new grasses and plants to grow
  • They kill some invasive species and insect populations
  • They 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. They will occur Monday-Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this spring.

Residents are encouraged to close their windows if they notice fire trucks staging next to the parklands listed below 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

Burns are carried out in the spring and fall as time allows. Locations that are not burned this spring will be prioritized in the fall.