WEST ALTON - Heavy smoke had residents in the Alton area asking what was on fire across the Mississippi River on Facebook today.

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A controlled burn started around 12:30 p.m and was going until around 5:00 p.m. today. Heavy smoke could be seen around 3:00 p.m from downtown Alton.

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“We will be burning restored prairies near Heron pond and along a portion of Riverlands way. The purpose of this prescribed fire is to burn off built-up thatch so that we can drill seed native species in early spring. There will be less thatch, more seed to soil contact, and better germination,” the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary said in a statement.

Call the Rivers Project Office at (636) 899-2600 if you have any questions.

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