Be safe around bonfires, campfires

Like a crisp breeze rolling in and breaking up summer’s sticky humidity, the Labor Day holiday is a sure sign that fall is around the corner. If it’s been too hot to use your campfire or bonfire space over summer, so now is the time to get it back in shape for fall get-togethers.

Here are some safety tips to know when prepping a fire:

¯ Block flying sparks with a fire ring or build a fire in a vegetation-free circle of bricks or stones.

¯ Trim back any overhanging branches to a safe distance from the campfire area.

¯ Cut and rake away any grasses or brush from around the campfire area.

¯ Build a maximum campfire size of about 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet. This size allows you to reach it with a shovel and quickly put it out in case of windy weather or an emergency.

¯ Before lighting a fire, check weather conditions. You can find daily fire danger ratings online. Dry weather and wind are the main safety factors to watch out for. Wind gusts can cause wildfires by carrying escaped embers and sparks into fields or brush.

¯ When enjoying a fire, always have water source, a shovel and a metal rake close by. Never leave a fire unattended — even for a minute — and always put out a fire completely with water before turning in for the night.

Department of Natural Resources firefighters have responded this year to more than 263 wildfires that have burned nearly 2,400 acres in Michigan. Get wildfire prevention tips at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires or share a fun Smokey Bear video with friends and family.


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