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DNR: Fire risk is ‘steeply increased’

Officials urge public to exercise extra caution due to conditions

MARQUETTE — The state’s recent warm, dry, weather has created a “steeply increased risk of fire,” which means “taking extra care when camping, burning, or using equipment outdoors,” according to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources news release.

“Although there have been scattered rains, rainfall is below normal and it’s dry out there,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the DNR, in the release. “People cause the vast majority of wildfires, so it’s critical to use common sense and be careful.”

Fire danger is elevated from the southwest corner of the state into the Upper Peninsula. The National Weather Service is issuing red flag warnings for spots around the state where very warm temperatures, low humidity and stronger winds are expected, including the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.

Burn permits for yard debris will not be issued in many areas through the weekend; check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit in northern Michigan or contact local municipal or fire authorities in the southern Lower Peninsula.

The DNR urges residents and visitors to take precautions with these activities:

≤ Do not throw cigarettes or matches out the window of a moving vehicle. They can ignite grass on the side of the road.

≤ Watch for dragging chains if you are pulling a trailer; they can create sparks.

≤ Always make sure your campfire is out before you leave the area. Drown it with water, stir it and carefully feel to make sure it is no longer emitting heat. Always keep a water source and a shovel nearby whenever the fire is burning. Keep campfires within a ring 3 feet or less in diameter.

≤ Do not shoot fireworks into the woods or into dry grass or shrubs. Spray the entire area where you are using fireworks with water before using them and again when you are done. Put used sparklers into a bucket of water, as wires can stay hot.

≤ When using ORVs or outdoor equipment, keep hot equipment away from dry grass or brush. Ride ORVs only on trails to avoid starting a grass fire.

DNR firefighters have responded so far this fire season to more than 227 fires blackening more than 2,200 acres. Find fire prevention tips, a map of fire danger, and a link to check for burn permits at Michigan.gov/FireManagement.

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