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Be smart about fire

All Northeast Michigan counties burned on March 22, the day a fast-moving grass fire claimed 86 acres in Alcona County, News staff writer Julie Riddle reported last week.

A lidless burn barrel may have caused that fire near Black River Road, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources firefighter told Riddle, a good reminder to all of us to stay smart about fire.

That’s especially true this year, after a less-precipitous winter followed by early warmth and sunshine created dangerously dry conditions. Debris-burning is the number-one cause of grass fires, the DNR says.

The agency offers the following fire safety tips:

∫ Never leave any fire unattended

∫ Always keep a shovel, metal bucket and water source nearby

∫ Keep your fire small and manageable

∫ Do not burn on windy days or during periods of dry weather

∫ Create a “fire-free” area around your home by trimming branches, mowing the lawn, and removing dead vegetation

∫ When finished with your fire, douse it thoroughly with water, stir the ashes and douse again. Repeat until cool.

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