Bone-dry conditions in state urge safe burning

Campfires should be watched extra carefully with the ongoing dry conditions across the state.

Campfires should be watched extra carefully with the ongoing dry conditions across the state.

LAPEER COUNTY — Michigan has barely seen about 1.5-inches of rain since June 2, so the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources is asking residents to use caution with fires this summer, as some regions of the state face dangerously dry conditions that are not expected to see any relief in the coming week.

“Warm temperatures and a lack of moisture across Michigan, in particular in southern Michigan, have created elevated fire danger,” said Don Johnson of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Vegetation is extremely dry due to the high temperatures and lack of rainfall. Over the past 30 days we have received less than 50 percent of our normal precipitation.”

This summer season, people will take advantage of warm summer weather with campfires, barbeques— and fireworks. Each year numerous fires are started when people irresponsibly ignite fireworks. Concern is especially high this year because of a state law passed last year that allows for aerial fireworks.

Be sure to follow these guidelines throughout the summer:

• Use fireworks responsibly by not igniting them near dry, combustible vegetation.

• Be sure there is proper adult supervision whenever shooting off consumer fireworks.

• Remember that it is illegal to use fireworks on any public property without proper authorization.

• Keep all campfires small and never leave any fire unattended, even for a moment.

• Always be sure ashes and barbeque coals are completely extinguished before leaving. Improperly extinguished fires are the leading causes of wildfires.

• Have water available in case your fire begins to escape, and drown your coals thoroughly before leaving a campfire.

“There is no reason people can’t be safe and have fun at the same time,” said Johnson. “We urge people to responsibly enjoy the holiday and their time in Michigan’s great outdoors.”

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