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Wildfire season upon us

March 29, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

With an earlier than usual spring this year, many residents are likely hoping to get ahead of their spring yard cleaning projects, which often include burning leaves, wood or debris.

While we think spring cleaning is a good idea, we think everyone needs to keep in mind warnings of fire danger issued by officials with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

This week, fire officials were urging residents to postpone any debris burning. Because of the increased fire danger-intensified by weather conditions favorable to fire-DNRE fire officials were not issuing burn permits for several Upper Peninsula counties.

Next week, National Weather Service forecasters predict unseasonably warm temperatures, which will likely spike the fire danger indices again.

A recent 50-acre blaze in the Floodwood location of northern Dickinson County demonstrates how readily the woods will burn this spring when a fire is sparked.We join with state officials in urging extreme caution with fire.

Last spring, the voracious Black River Falls Fire blackened more than 800 acres, destroying 33 structures, including 22 homes near the Escanaba River and Marquette County Road 581.

The Pinery Fire in Baraga County charred 685 acres and began the same day as the Black River Falls Fire. Fortunately, only one structure was lost in that blaze.

This time of the year, spring fires are always concern of fire-fighting agencies-none of which have enough individual equipment to battle wildfires on their own-but even moreso in years like this one when conditions are favorable for fire.

With a shortage of state fire officers still an unresolved problem, big fires raging in the Lower and Upper peninsulas at the same time could create horrible problems for local, state and federal firefighting crews to contend with.

Let's save the spring burning until after some April showers and let's all do whatever we can to prevent wildfires.



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