Article Posted: April 18, 2002

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LANSING--Quick action by state Department of Natural Resources and local firefighters saved two structures in Clare County earlier this week when a resident's debris fire escaped control and threatened a neighbor's barn and house. Firefighters were on-scene and able to stop the fire before it caused major damage. Warm temperatures have kept firefighters busy across the Lower Peninsula this week.

"Although temperatures will be cooler over the weekend, the dead vegetation is still dry and will burn readily," said Mindy Koch, DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Division Chief. "Be sure to exercise caution with all outdoor fires this weekend. As always, calling for a burning permit is the best way to get up-to-date fire danger information."

A permit is required before doing any outdoor burning, and, when conditions are safe, can be obtained from the DNR or USDA Forest Service in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula. Local units of government and fire departments issue burn permits in southern Michigan.

Burn permits are issued only for burning leaves, brush or stumps. Burning of other materials is prohibited.

A list of contacts for obtaining a permit can be found on the DNR Web site at www.michigandnr.com. If your fire escapes, you may be held liable for any damages and all costs of controlling the fire.

The DNR recommends the following safety precautions for any outdoor burning:
* Never leave an outdoor campfire or debris fire unattended, even for a moment.
* Have water available in case your fire begins to escape. If your fire does escape, call for help immediately.
* Always be sure your debris fire and/or campfire is completely extinguished before leaving it unattended. Improperly extinguished fires are one of the leading causes of wildfires. They also are a major cause of burns among children. Hundreds of children are burned each year when they fall into or walk over an improperly extinguished fire.
* Drown your fire with plenty of water. Wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces. Stir the ashes to find any hot spots (you'll see and hear steam escape when you find one), and wet everything again with more water.
* Do not simply bury your fire with soil. In most cases the fire will continue to smolder. It also will not protect children against being burned if they fall or walk in the pile of sand.

Visit the DNR Web site for up-to-date information on wildfire safety, how you can protect your home from wildfire, the latest fire statistics and more.

Source: MDNR

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