DNR: It Doesn't Take Much to Spark a Fire

Posted at 10:59 AM, Jul 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-13 10:59:09-04

Despite burn bans issued across the state, Michigan DNR says it's responded to 20 fires this week.
Today FOX 47's Marcus Dash found out just how easy it is to spark a fire in these dry conditions.

"Mowing your lawns is one of them, people operating chainsaws in the woods, it might hit a rock, and start a spark. ATV, UTVS, and motorcycles if they don't have spark arrestors on can also start fires," said Paul Rogers.

Wildfire specialist of the MDNR Paul Rogers says the grass is so dry right now that it wouldn't take much for it to catch fire.  This is why he wants people away from their lawnmowers for the time being.

"When the blade is spinning it'll hit a rock or a piece of gravel and then that causes a spark and it will sit there and it will take a few minutes and then it might be in a thick mat of grass that's dead then that'll take off," said Rogers.

While that may sound strange, Delhi Fire Chief Brian Ball says he sees fires start from lawnmowers a lot.  He said it's up there with other common things they respond to in conditions like this.  "Improperly discarded cigarette buds thrown into the dry grass or wood mulch," said Brian Ball.  While the MDNR says to avoid using chainsaws in the woods and mowing your lawn, they say camping is okay, but to proceed with caution.

"Have a shovel handy, a five-gallon bucket of water, hose, something like that to make sure the fire is out before you leave the campsite to make sure you pour water on it and stir it in," said Rogers.

Just because there's some rain in the forecast this weekend doesn't mean the burn bans are going away.

"If we get some rain this weekend, it might be enough to get the ground wet, but not enough to sustain good green growth to help lower the risk of burning," said Ball.

The burn bans do not apply to grilling or cooking using charcoal, wood, propane or natural gas in cooking or grilling appliances.