Be aware of the risks of wildfires

Though the greening of spring continues, it’s not enough yet to ward off the worry about fire.

Saturday was Wildfire Preparedness Day, pointing out that conditions in May and June can be ideal for fire to spread.

Michigan’s wildfire fire season often is hottest during May and June, but state residents can help prevent catastrophe with simple steps such as burning with care and landscaping their yards to keep fires from reaching their homes.

To encourage people to become aware of wildfire precautions, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared Saturday as Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Michigan joins other states across the country in the awareness effort begun in 2013 by the National Fire Protection Association.

In 2019, DNR firefighters have battled more than 40 wildfires on about 600 acres. During 2018, DNR team members also assisted with wildfires in 10 other states, including the Carr Fire, a 229,000-acre blaze in California that started in late July and burned through the end of August.

Ways to prevent fire include:

— When conditions are dry, be careful using power tools, off-road vehicles and other such 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 planning to burn debris. Permits are free, but are not issued when conditions are windy, dry or otherwise unsafe.

— Always make sure any 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.

More information is available at Michigan.gov/FireManagement and at Michigan.gov/DNREducation.

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