TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – In an effort to mitigate fire hazards, the Idaho Transportation Department will mow the roadsides of at least two highways in the Magic Valley region to reduce potential wildfire fuels.

ITD usually mows about 12 feet from the edge of roadway along most highway corridors, but will mow up to 15 feet along Idaho 75 in southern Blaine County and U.S. Highway 93 in southern Twin Falls County.

Mowing focuses on areas traversing critical sage-grouse habitat, according to the department. Additional areas of highway right of way could be added as resources allow.

ITD received a fire-mitigation grant from the Bureau of Land Management Twin Falls District to assist in the reduction of hazardous fuels along Idaho highways. The program seeks to reduce or eliminate the ignition and spread of wildfire along roadsides, protect natural resources, and reduce the risk of wildfire to communities and firefighters.

ITD received a grant from the BLM to perform similar work through the fire-prone areas of Elmore and eastern Ada Counties. With the approved grant, ITD purchased a 15-foot mower deck and will lease a tractor to accommodate the additional work. The initial grant application was for $55,000 to be reimbursed to ITD over a two-year period.

As part of its efforts, mowing started this week along Idaho 75 between Shoshone and the U.S. Highway 20 junction, also known as Timmerman Hill.