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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans controlled burns starting in April

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The Morris Wetland Management District is planning to conduct controlled burns this spring in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, and Yellow Medicine Counties.

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The burns will be starting in April, continuing through May, and into early June. These carefully planned and controlled fires are designed to help wildlife and wildlife habitat. Here, on the eastern edge of the prairie, where trees will grow if given a chance, grasslands and the wildlife that depend on grasslands actually require some sort of harsh disturbance such as an occasional fire for their very survival.

Animals that live on the prairie are adapted to fire. They escape by going underground, or simply running or flying away. Though some nests may be destroyed, birds of the prairie quickly build new nests. The short term harm caused to a few eggs or an occasional animal is outweighed by the benefit of improved habitat.

You may see Fish & Wildlife staff burning or see the results of their burning as you drive throughout the countryside. All of our fires are carefully planned and controlled to cause as little inconvenience or trouble to the neighbors as possible. Their preference is to burn when the prevailing winds carry the smoke away from homes and busy roads. Sometimes, there is no ideal wind direction. Occasionally, despite their best efforts, some smoke crosses a road or passes near a rural home.

They work hard to minimize such problems and are prepared with road signs to warn drivers of smoke along roads. If you have any questions or comments please contact the Morris Wetland Management District at 320-589-1001.

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