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Mark Hansen

Mark Hansen on how to be firewise this holiday weekend

Mark Hansen talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR

Written by Julia Wendzinski

Mark Hansen, MSU Extension wildfire specialist, says one of the biggest problems with wildfires is the fact that nobody ever thinks they’ll experience one. Hansen discusses best practices in preventing fires this summer with Kirk Heinze.

“Most of the fires we have in Michigan are caused by people burning debris. There are other causes, though, like campfires, trains, people with ATVs, arson and children playing with matches,” says Hansen.

Fireworks are another cause of fires, and one that is of increased concern with the Fourth of July weekend coming up.

“Every year we have some fires that take off because people are playing with fireworks around dead vegetation; dune grass is one of those that has a lot of dead grass in it,” says Hansen.

Other vegetation to watch out for, especially for those traveling Up North, includes dead leaves and pine needles. Hansen describes being prepared for a possible fire as being firewise. Tips to be firewise include keeping the area around your home clear from leaves and removing old material from under decks and roofs.

Hansen explains that unless the ground is snow covered, you must always remember to have a permit when burning debris; it is required by Michigan fire law. Burning permits can be obtained from the fire department, your local township office or the DNR website. When applying for the permit, you will be advised if the current conditions are too dangerous for burning.

“People need to understand, regardless if you have a permit or don’t have a permit,  you are responsible for the fire. If a fire gets away, gets into a field and burns a neighbor’s house, it’s your fault. You need to remember that any time you have a fire,” says Hansen.

The driest time during the day is between 2-6 p.m., so it is best is to burn in the early morning when the humidity is higher and winds are low, advises Hansen. However, it’s best to always call the fire department to confirm that the time you’re planning to burn is a safe one.

For those celebrating the Fourth of July with some sparklers or fountains, Hansen advises to make sure they are lit on green grass or the cement. 

Click on the arrow above to hear Hansen's June 25 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk HeinzeGreening of the Great Lakes airs Fridays at 7 p.m. on News/Talk 760 WJR.

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