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Today a good day to think of ways to prevent wildfires

Although some local residents are still reeling from this week’s unexpected — and unwelcome — snow dump, and forest fires caused by summer heat and wind are the furthest things from their mind, the wildfire season is just around the corner.

In fact today has been designed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Michigan joins other states in the union in an effort that launched in 2013 to raise awareness of the danger of wildfire and how to prevent them.

“People are a leading cause of wildfires in Michigan,” Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said in a press release. “Simple procedures such as trimming trees on your property or getting a permit before burning debris can help save lives and property.”

Among the things that you can do to prevent fires:

≤ When conditions are dry, be careful using power tools, off-road vehicles and other power equipment outside. A spark from a tool or heat from an exhaust system can quickly set dry grass ablaze.

≤ Go to Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to get a burn permit if you plan to burn debris. Permits are free, but are not issued when conditions are windy, dry or otherwise unsafe.

≤ Always make sure your campfire or bonfire is thoroughly doused with water before leaving it for the night.

≤ Keep a hose handy when using fireworks and avoid shooting them into dry grass or brush.

≤ If you live near the woods or have a cabin or deer camp in the woods, use Firewise landscaping practices to keep trees and vegetation a safe distance from any buildings.

So far this year, DNR fire crews have battled more than 40 fires — and summer hasn’t even started.

Let’s all exercise common sense to insure we are doing everything we can to prevent forest fires.