DETROIT (WWJ) – The Michigan DNR is reminding us to be careful when burning outside this spring. It’s wildfire season and it doesn’t take long for a small fire to grow to one out of control.

Mark Hansen, a wildfire specialist with the Forestry Department at Michigan State University, said they have been working to cut down on the number fires.

“Since 2002, we’ve been working to try and prevent homes and structures from being damaged or destroyed to fire due to our programs called ‘Fire Wise,'” Hansen said.

In these times of tight budgets, many smaller fire departments have to scramble to meet the costs of extinguishing wildfires. Hansen said it costs fire departments thousands of dollars every year to extinguish wildfires.

“We’re talking between $700 and $1,500 per fire truck, and the crew, to go out there and put that fire out. So, if we have bigger fires, that means that each time we have a truck go out, it’s going to cost the township and the taxpayers that much,” Hansen said.

Before you burn anything outside, check with your local fire department to see if it’s safe and to get a permit.

“If it’s a bad day to burn and there’s a real risk there, you won’t be issued a permit, and that’s probably the most important reason for checking to get a permit,” Hansen said. “The fire stations are alerted by the DNR if it’s going to be a bad fire day. And our monitors nowadays, with all the weather and the satellite weather, tell us when we’re going to have a bad fire day and it’s pretty true.”

Handling grass fires along freeways or putting out a trash fire can mean thousands of dollars to small fire departments that can’t afford it.

So remember, get the permit, monitor the weather, always be cautious when burning outside and have a safe Spring!


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