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Fire danger highest in U.P. for Memorial Day weekend

LANSING — With plenty of outdoor activities on tap as Michigan kicks off the summer season this Memorial Day weekend, the Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone that fire danger is expected to be high in portions of the state.

That means common sense and caution are key to preventing fires.

“People need to be careful with backyard fires,” said Paul Rogers, DNR fire prevention specialist. “Keep a hose or water handy if you are burning or planning to use any type of fireworks.”

Fire danger is anticipated to be highest in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula today, Friday and Monday. Showers are in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, which may reduce fire risks in some areas on those days.

Some tips to keep in mind to prevent fires:

– To reduce the risk of escaped fire, wait to burn yard debris. Do not start a fire before checking weather conditions and getting a burn permit at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit. Permits are required statewide. Northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula residents can get permits online; elsewhere, contact your local municipality or fire department.

– Be careful when using all-terrain vehicles, lawn mowers or other outdoor machinery. In dry conditions, heat from a lawn mower or the exhaust pipe of an ATV can ignite dry grass. A trailer chain dragging on pavement can create sparks that set grass ablaze.

– Never leave any fire unattended, even for a moment. Make sure all fires are extinguished before leaving the area.

– Learn more about specific fire danger by region and find fire prevention tips.

In addition to the use of safe burning practices, it remains important to continue social distancing of 6 feet or more when working outside with others to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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