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E-M:/ DNR Warns State Fire Danger is High; Urges Caution with Campfires, Fireworks

Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>

June 28, 2005

Contacts: Paul Kollmeyer 231-775-9727 or Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014                     	
DNR Warns State Fire Danger is High;
Urges Caution with Campfires, Fireworks

The danger of wildfire is expected to be high in most of Michigan this Fourth of July weekend, warned fire officials with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The summer heat and lack of rain in the past month have pushed parts of Michigan into drought conditions increasing fire activity. So far this year, 356 fires have burned a total of 3,463 acres - far ahead of last season's totals.

"When the weather is dry during the Fourth of July holiday, we respond to a lot of fires," said Lynne Boyd, DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management division chief. "With so many visitors in the forests and campgrounds this week, and the grass that has turned brown in many areas, our chances for wildfire have greatly increased."

Boyd urged Michigan citizens and visitors to be extremely careful with outdoor fires and fireworks. She offered the following suggestions:

*       Keep campfires small, and do not leave them unattended at any time;
*       Be sure all fires and barbeques are completely extinguished  -- use plenty of water, stir and add more water until everything is wet and no steam is produced;
*       Turn over unburned pieces of wood left in a fire pit and wet the underside;
*       Soak unburned pieces of charcoal in a barbeque in a bucket of water before disposing of them;
*       Do not simply cover a campfire with soil - this is an insufficient way to extinguish it;

Boyd also reminded citizens and visitors that fireworks will easily start fires in grassy or wooded areas, and that they should only be released in parking lots, driveways or other areas free of vegetation.

"Fireworks that explode or fly into the air are illegal in Michigan and are the cause of many fires each year," Boyd said. "The only items legal to use in Michigan are sparklers, cone fountains and snakes."

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.


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