Wildfire Prevention tips this Labor Day Weekend
The following was minimally edited from a August 31st press release from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources urges precaution
Warm summer temperatures and a lack of moisture in parts of Michigan have created high fire danger conditions. Showers have been irregular throughout the state recently.
"Fire danger varies widely due to the nature of this type of scattered precipitation making it difficult to describe where safe fire conditions exist and where there is a serious threat," said Lynne Boyd, chief of the Department of Natural Resources' Forest Management Division. "With forest visitors across the countryside enjoying Labor Day activities like camping or barbequing, we urge caution in all locations to reduce the chance of any outdoor fire escaping to become a wildfire."
Paul Kollmeyer, the DNR's fire prevention specialist, indicated the west half of the Upper Peninsula and the central counties of northern Lower Michigan will experience the highest wildfire potential until wet weather moves in to reduce the risk. "Campfires account for almost 10 percent of wildfires, and yet simple precautions will easily prevent them from escaping and causing damage," added Kollmeyer.
The DNR recommends following these precautions when having an outdoor fire.
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- Clear away all flammables before lighting your fire.
- Never leave any fire unattended, even for a moment.
- Keep all campfires and debris fires small.
- Have water available in case your fire begins to flare up.
- If your fire does escape, call 911 immediately before attempting to put it out.
- When you are done with your fire, drown it with plenty of water. Wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces. Stir the ashes to find any hot spots and wet everything again with more water.
- Do not simply bury your fire with soil. Dry soil will not extinguish the fire, and it will not protect someone from being burned if they fall or walk into it.
- Always be sure fires are completely out. Carelessness and improperly extinguished coals are the leading causes of escapes.