Get the permit before burning

It happens every year.

Residents are busy cleaning up winter brush and old-growth outside and then go to burn it. What often happens is a combination of dry ground and wind mix to create a dangerous situation and before you know it, rural burning gets out of control.

Spring is an especially bad time for grassfires and such was the case this week in Alpena County when two outside fires occurred within hours of each other. Local fire and Department of Natural Resources officials remind residents that before any burning can legally take place outside, first a burn permit must be obtained. The permit comes with restrictions and warnings and from time to time, permit use is curtailed.

Dead grass and leaves left from the winter are quite flammable in warm spring weather. It doesn’t take much to quickly ignite them and if there is any wind at all, a small fire can quickly get out of control and become a large wildfire.

According to Michigan State University Extension officials, annually there are between 8,000 and 10,000 wildfires in Michigan.

Dan Laux, DNR fire prevention specialist, said preventing spring fires begins with each of us.

“Nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by people,” Laux said. “We all need to do our part to prevent wildfires and protect the natural resources that make Michigan so special.”