Michigan’s spring wildfire season begins in late April and reaches into early May, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is trying to draw attention to the risk and ways to prevent them.
“Increased outdoor activity and a forest abundant with flammable leaves, needles and dead grass are cause for everyone’s concern,” according to a statement by Bill O’Neil, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Combine warm, windy days with people engaged in outdoor activities and the risk of wildfire elevates.”
Here are some tips for Michigan’s Wildfire Prevention Week (April 15-21) and beyond:
– careless burning of debris sparks most wildfires
– brush burning requires a permit. In the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula go to www.michigan.gov/burnpermit or phone 866-922-2876. In southern Michigan obtain the permit from the local fire department or township office
– When building campfires:
Clear away flammable material surrounding the fire so it won’t creep into dry vegetation.
Keep campfires small and don’t leave before they are extinguished. Douse the fire area with plenty of water, stir and add more water until everything is wet. Turn over unburned pieces and wet the underside.
- Do not cover a campfire with soil, because it may simply smolder before re-igniting.
- Consider composting or mulching yard debris as an alternative to burning it.
Smokey Bear has tips, activities for the kids, “Smokey’s Journey,” a timeline about the history of the awareness bear, and a map that shows current wildfires across the U.S.