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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org


Below is a DNR press release -- I pass this along mainly to make 
sure people are paying attention as they get out into the woods 
at this time of year, but also to talk some about fire in our 

The statistics already this year on fires show that the vast 
majority are caused by PEOPLE DOING DUMB THINGS -- lightening 
strikes, nature's way of doing a prescribed burn, have accounted 
for less than 10% of the fires to date.  ALSO, if you see smoke 
or a fire, report it, don't assume someone else has already done 
so.  While I am a big fan of natural fire and restoring 
disturbance to our native ecosystems, people dropping 
cigarettes, hot sparks from ORVs, or campfires improperly put 
out do NOT constitute natural disturbances!  

In Michigan, we do have one of the most flammable forest 
ecosystems around (jack pine) but we also have what are referred 
to by one respected ecologist as the "asbestos forests", the 
Northern Hardwoods forests which will burn very rarely (on 
thousand year intervals).  The human impact on the fire regimes 
of all of our forests has been dramatic -- whether we talk about 
the compromised ability of the oak savanna to persist when fire 
is removed allowing other trees move in, or the holes punched 
into the forest by logging and roads that make the forests more 
vulnerable to excessive, human caused fires, our effect on 
nature's design becomes very apparent when we talk about fires 
and woods.  

On a related note, below is information about a Forest Service 
publication that points out that logging actually increases the 
risk of fires. : 


"Fire Weather," a 229-page Forest Service manual for all Fire 
Science personnel, discusses how fire prevention characteristics 
of a forest are lost by logging.  Logging and logging roads open 
the forest canopy and increase the temperature of air, the 
ground and forest fuels, which accelerate the rate of burning of 
surface fires.  Opening the forest canopy also lowers humidity 
of forest fuels, which increases the flammability of these 
fuels, critically influences the behavior of wildlands fires and 
may cause rapid and intense fire spread.  The report concludes 
that logging and logging roads increase the chance of wildland 
fire.  The handbook is available from the Government Printing 
Office, Stock No. 001-000-0193-0 / Catalogue No. A 1.76:360

Anne Woiwode
Arthur Sutton, 517-373-1226
LANSING--The danger of wildfire is very high across most of 
Michigan, and the Department of Natural Resources warns the 
sunny weather and low humidity the state currently is 
experiencing will keep wildfire danger very high for the 
next several days. 
"Use caution with debris fires and campfires this week," 
said Ed Hagan, Acting Forest Management Division Chief. 
"Although most of the state received extensive rain last 
week, dead vegetation has dried out and will burn readily." 
A permit is required before doing any outdoor burning, and 
can be obtained from the Department of Natural Resources or 
USDA Forest Service in the upper Peninsula and northern 
lower Peninsula. Local units of government and fire 
departments issue burn permits in southern Michigan. 
"Calling for a burning permit is the best way to get up-to- 
date fire danger information," said Hagan. 
Burn permits are issued only for burning leaves, brush or 
stumps. Burning of other materials is prohibited. During 
periods of high fire danger, permits may be restricted, or 
not issued at all. 
Never leave any outdoor fire unattended, even for a moment. 
Have a garden hose nearby in case your fire begins to 
escape. If your fire escapes your control, call for help 
Always be sure your debris fire and/or campfire is 
completely extinguished before leaving it unattended. 
Improperly extinguished fires are one of the leading reasons 
campfires and debris fires escape control. Be sure to use 
plenty of water to extinguish your fire. Wet everything 
thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces. 
Stir the ashes to find any remaining hot spots, and wet them 
again with more water. Do not simply bury your fire with 
soil--in most cases, this will not extinguish the fire. 
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