It's spring, and that normally means drier ground, warming temperatures and breezy weather - all catalysts for increased risks of outside fires.
A number of grass fires already have occurred this spring across the region. As such, we all need to be reminded of proper safety when using fire outside. Check with authorities to see whether a "no burning" ban is in place. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources daily updates its burn permit hotline. If a permit is not available, don't burn.
If camping or cooking outside, never leave camp fires unattended and before leaving a campsite, make sure the fire if fully extinguished.
The same holds true for grilling outside.
Use common sense. If it is windy, know that fire danger increases. If it hasn't rained for a period of time, understand the ground is going to be drier and again, fire danger increases.
According to the DNR, each year between 10,000 and 12,000 wildfires occur in the state. These fires are responsible for burning thousands of acres and cost taxpayers, property owners and insurance companies millions of dollars.
It doesn't take much to quickly turn dry ground into a burning inferno. We can't control Mother Nature, but we can take responsibility for our own actions.
Be smart when using fire outside this spring.