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E-M:/ DNR Urges Caution With Outdoor Fires

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

April 27 , 2006

Contacts: Paul Kollmeyer 231-775-9727 or Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014	
DNR Urges Caution With Outdoor Fires

Department of Natural Resources fire officers and their local partner firefighters are reminding residents that the increase in warm weather throughout the state coupled with a moisture deficit in parts of Michigan currently is keeping the fire danger at a high level.

Many spring outdoor activities are taking place across the state now including the opening of trout season, camping, mushroom picking and turkey hunting. 

"While we certainly want Michigan citizens and visitors to enjoy being outdoors, we also want them to be aware that this increase in outdoor recreation activity boosts the chances of wildfire," said Lynne Boyd, chief of the DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Division. "A majority of wildfires we fight in our state are started because someone was careless with fire."

Boyd also cautioned against a false sense of security caused by recent rains, saying that while it has rained in many parts of the state in the last several days, the quantity has been less than average.

As of this morning, DNR fire officers have responded to 140 wildfires that have burned 574 acres, and more are expected until the state receives sufficient moisture and things begin to green up in the woods.  

"We strongly caution everyone to be careful with campfires and any open flame during this time of high fire danger," said DNR Fire Prevention Specialist Paul Kollmeyer. "As the weather warms up, outdoor activities increase. Extra caution is needed as most of the state is under high fire danger."  

The DNR recommends taking extreme safety precautions with any outdoor burning, including: Always being sure your debris fire and/or campfire is completely extinguished before leaving. Use plenty of water to extinguish all fires and wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces. Have a garden hose nearby in case your fire begins to escape. If your fire does escape, call your local fire dispatch office immediately. 

A burn permit is required before doing any outdoor burning, and is issued only for burning leaves, brush and stumps. Burning of other materials is prohibited. Burn permits are managed by the DNR in the Northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula.  Local units of government and fire departments issue burn permits in Southern Michigan. Information on where to obtain a burn permit, the latest fire statistics and wildfire safety tips can be obtained from the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.  

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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