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Help reduce wildfire risk

As the weather warms and we all begin spring cleanup around our yards, many of us will use a burn barrel to burn off the debris and brush winter left behind.

While some may think a burn barrel is a safe way to contain a fire, at least compared to open burning, it still can cause wildfires if not handled properly, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources warns.

The DNR offers the following checklist to ensure a safer burn barrel:

∫ Set the barrel on level concrete blocks or a similar hard, nonflammable surface.

∫ As required for burn barrels, use a cover or screen with holes a quarter of an inch or smaller to prevent flying embers.

∫ Set the barrel far away from flammables, like woodpiles, and trim any overhead tree branches.

∫ Always keep a water source and shovel nearby, and never leave a fire unattended.

∫ Before lighting a fire, check the weather. Don’t burn on a dry, windy day.

Ol’ Smokey was right: Only you can prevent forest fires.

Do your part to keep all of us and the Northeast Michigan beauty we enjoy safe.

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