Prescribed burns planned at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

After a historic, high-intensity wildfire season last year in Minnesota, plans are underway for prescribed burns at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Wetland Management District.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) says it will start prescribed burning on refuge units and waterfowl production areas this month as it works to reduce invasive and woody plants while also improving wildlife habitats.

With the prolonged drought, low humidity and high temperatures last year, Minnesota saw several large and intense wildfires. USFWS says that reaffirmed the importance of periodic prescribed burns, which reduce the threat of wildfire to adjacent private lands.

RELATED: For the first time since September 2020, no part of Minnesota is under ‘severe drought’

Due to the constantly changing weather conditions, USFWS says the exact times and dates of the prescribed burns aren’t yet set. However, the agency says officials always take wind speed and direction, temps, relative humidity, vegetation conditions and smoke dispersion into consideration, and nearby roadways and trails may be marked with signs to indicate a prescribed burn.

Prescribed burns are planned at the following locations:

  • Bloomington Visitor Center – Long Meadow Lake Unit (Hennepin Co.)
  • Rapids Lake Visitor Center and Unit (Carver Co.)
  • Jessenland Unit (Sibley Co.)
  • Louisville Swamp Unit (Scott Co.)
  • Erin Prairie WPA (Rice Co.)
  • Cobb River WPA (Blue Earth Co.)
  • Howard Farm WPA (Blue Earth Co.)
  • Kaul WPA (Blue Earth Co.)
  • Roberts WPA (Blue Earth Co.)
  • Watonwan WPA (Blue Earth Co.)
  • Dodge Center Creek WPA (Steele Co.)
  • Mud Lake WPA (Sibley Co.)

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is also doing prescribed burns, which are already underway. The burns done by MnDOT give the agency better weed control and water quality, as well as increase safety near the roadway. CLICK HERE for the agency’s prescribed burn policy.