If you see smoke over the skies over Oakdale in the coming weeks, it could be a controlled burn at the nearby Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
Washington County on Wednesday announced the controlled burn, which will happen between April 18 and May 17.
The burn—conducted in conjunction with the local fire departments and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources—will take approximately one to four hours to complete and will occur on a weekday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The prairie burn will only be done when conditions are right, according to a release from the county, and it may be rescheduled several times. Officials will be on hand monitoring the burn.
“Prairies are durable and complex grassland communities that provide food and cover for wildlife, protect against soil erosion, display beautiful colors throughout the year, and add character to the park landscape,” reads part of the release. “Once established, prairies are relatively carefree. Prairies are primarily managed through controlled burns. Fire controls the invasion of undesirable plants by stimulating those plants that are adapted to fire, while simultaneously killing off the woody and weedy plants that would otherwise take over the site. By initiating a controlled burn, a natural process is being reintroduced to the landscape.”
A controlled burn is also planned at Pine Point Regional Park during the same timeframe.
For more information, contact the Washington County Parks Division at 651-430-4328.