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'Be careful outdoors': DNR warns of elevated fire danger

Elevated Fire Danger
Posted at 4:20 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 16:20:02-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources issued a warning Thursday that much of the state is very dry, even with recent showers in spots.

The DNR says that means fire safety is a high priority for anyone working or playing outdoors.

The online drought monitor map shows much of the northern Lower Peninsula and the Thumb are dealing with “abnormally dry” conditions.

Elevated Fire Danger

Make sure you check the state’s burn permit website before you burn to see if weather conditions are safe enough for burning.

The DNR says humans cause nine out of ten wildland fires, with yard waste burning being the top cause for wildfires in Michigan.

Fire danger goes up when the weather is hot and dry, going up even further when it’s windy.

Windborne embers can travel far and fast, turning a small fire into a large one quicker than you might think.

“We are beginning to see seasonal drought conditions across much of the state. Intermittent rainfall in some areas hasn’t been enough to lessen those conditions,” explained Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist for the Michigan DNR. “We urge residents and visitors to use caution when burning.

The DNR offered the following safety tips to keep in mind when you’re outdoors:

  • Keep campfires and bonfires contained in a pit or ring and put them out thoroughly before leaving for the night. To do so, douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse it again.
  • Never leave any fire, including hot coals, unattended.
  • Always keep a hose or other water source nearby while burning.
  • Prevent sparks by keeping trailer chains from dragging and not parking hot equipment on dry grass.
  • Do not shoot fireworks into the woods, dry grass or shrubs.
  • Do not burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam or other household trash. It is illegal and can release dangerous chemicals into the air.
  • Use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and other natural materials.

DNR wildland firefighters have fought more than 170 fires covering more than 3,200 acres so far in 2022.

Click here for more fire management safety tips.

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