Have a happy - and fire-safe - Fourth of July
With dry conditions, wildfires are a concern this holiday
July 2, 2012
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking residents to use caution with fires this summer, especially during the approaching July 4 holiday, as some regions of the state face dangerously dry conditions.
"Warm temperatures and a lack of moisture across Michigan, in particular in southern Michigan, have created elevated fire danger," said Don Johnson of the DNR's Forest Resources Division. "Vegetation is extremely dry due to the high temperatures and lack of rainfall. Over the past 30 days we have received less than 50 percent of our normal precipitation."
This holiday, people will take advantage of warm summer weather with campfires, barbeques - and fireworks. Each year numerous fires are started when people irresponsibly ignite fireworks. Concern is especially high this year because of a state law passed last year that allows for aerial fireworks.
Be sure to follow these guidelines this Fourth of July and throughout the summer:
- Use Fireworks responsibly by not igniting them near dry, combustible vegetation.
- Be sure there is proper adult supervision whenever shooting off consumer fireworks.
- Remember that it is illegal to use fireworks on any public property without proper authorization.
- Keep all campfires small and never leave any fire unattended, even for a moment.
- Always be sure ashes and barbeque coals are completely extinguished before leaving. Improperly extinguished fires are the leading causes of wildfires.
- Have water available in case your fire begins to escape, and drown your coals thoroughly before leaving a campfire.
"There is no reason people can't be safe and have fun at the same time," said Johnson. "We urge people to responsibly enjoy the holiday and their time in Michigan's great outdoors."
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.