Lansing, MI - It has been a cool, damp spring, so the upcoming nice weather forecast in much of the state will beckon many Michiganders to get outside and clean up the yard, break out the ORVs for a ride or build a fire for marshmallow roasting and relaxing.
But the combination of warm, dry weather and dry grasses and leaves left over from winter means people need to keep fire safety front and center.
“Nine out of 10 wildfires in Michigan are caused by people, but following a few simple fire safety tips can reduce the risk for everyone,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Among his recommendations for a safe outdoor weekend:
- Always check for permission to burn before lighting a fire. In the southern Lower Peninsula, check with your local fire authorities. For the northern Lower and Upper peninsulas, go online at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or call 866-922-BURN (866-922-2876) to make sure conditions are appropriate for safe burning. When you do burn, clear the area of dry grass and leaves down to mineral soil. Keep your fire at least 10 feet away from any logs, stumps or other debris.
- Never leave any fire unattended, even for a moment.
- Keep a hose or other water source nearby.
- When you’re finished burning, douse your fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again before leaving the site.
- If you are operating an ORV, power tools or other machinery, remember that a hot muffler or engine can ignite dry leaves or grass, so keep machines away from those and other potential fuel sources. Trailer chains dragging on pavement can also cause sparks that could start a fire.
- Get more fire safety tips at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires.