Fire safety is paramount this time of year | News, Sports, Jobs

Even though there has been above average rainfall lately, summer is still the hot season, which means much of the state is dry.

Case in point: Multiple agencies contained 46 acres of wildlife that had been burning since Sunday near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

A cause had not been determined, but dry weather usually does not help in this kind of situation.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources firefighters have battled more than 170 fires covering more than 3,200 acres so far this year.

Thus, fire safety is a priority for anyone who works or plays outdoors.

“We are starting to see seasonal drought conditions across much of the state. Intermittent rainfall in some areas has not been sufficient to alleviate these conditions,” MNR fire prevention specialist Paul Rogers said in a news release. “We urge residents and visitors to exercise caution when burning.”

The DNR asks people to check before burning to ensure weather conditions permit safe burning and, when burning, to exercise extreme caution.

According to the DNR, nine out of 10 wildfires are human-caused, with burning yard waste being the leading cause of wildfires in Michigan.

Fire danger increases, the DNR noted, when the weather is hot and dry and increases further when it is windy. Wind-blown embers can turn a small fire into a big one.

Lightning is another threat.

We agree with the DNR that people should always keep these safety tips in mind when outdoors:

≤ Keep campfires or bonfires contained in a pit or ring and make sure they are extinguished before leaving for the night. Extinguish the fire with water, stir the ashes and extinguish again.

≤ Never leave a fire, including hot coals, unattended.

≤ Always keep a hose or other water source nearby when burning.

≤ Prevent sparks. Prevent trailer chains from dragging; do not park hot equipment on dry grass.

≤ Do not shoot fireworks into woods, dry grass or bushes.

≤ Use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and natural materials.

More fire safety tips can be found at

Real fires aren’t the only threat. The DNR pointed out that it is illegal to burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam or other household waste, as it can release dangerous chemicals into the air.

Summer is a great time to be outdoors, but with those experiences come responsibilities. Keep fire safety in mind not only for your friends and family, but also for anyone who loves the outdoors.

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