DNR urges caution with fireworks, campfires over holiday weekend

LANSING, MI – Warm weather and family gatherings can make the Fourth of July a fun time with great memories. But before celebrating, please remember that some areas of Michigan, especially the southern portions of the Lower Peninsula and eastern Upper Peninsula, are experiencing very dry conditions.camp fire

The state fire marshal in conjunction with the Department of Natural Resources, currently is evaluating the situation. At this point no recommendations have been made to the governor on any state action regarding burn or fireworks bans for certain high-risk areas. Statewide bans are not being considered at this time. Anyone planning on doing any open burning or lighting of fireworks will need to check with local units of governments on any regulations or ordinances that may be in effect.

“The upcoming Fourth of July holiday is a great time for folks to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends, but it is also a time to remember wildfire safety,” said Bryce Avery, DNR fire prevention specialist. “You can have fun celebrating while being safe and making sure your property and our natural resources are protected. The best way to avoid the risk of starting a wildfire this holiday weekend is to attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.”

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to an average of 19,700 fires caused by fireworks each year. For those who are planning to use fireworks, the DNR suggests keeping these safety tips in mind:

  • Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt gold. Always place sparklers in a bucket of water when they have gone out; when thrown on the ground, sparklers can cause grass fires.
  • Point fireworks away from homes and keep them away from brush, grass and leaves.
  • Chinese lanterns can stay airborne for 20 minutes and reach heights up to 1 mile high before coming down in unplanned locations. The open flame has the potential to start fires.
  • Soak all fireworks in water before throwing them in the trash.

Avery said that in addition to fireworks safety, folks should keep the following things in mind when enjoying their campfires:

  • Use fire rings in non-flammable areas when possible.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Keep a water source and shovel nearby.
  • Place roasting sticks in a bucket of water when not in use.
  • Completely extinguish fires before turning in for the night. Douse with water, stir and douse again to make sure no embers are left.

“Fireworks and campfires are a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but you’ll enjoy the holidays much more knowing that your family and your property are safe,” he said. “Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Remember to check with your local units of governments for regulations or ordinances that may apply specifically to your area.”

For more fire prevention information and safety tips, visit www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.