NORTHERN MICHIGAN — With the Fourth of July fast approaching, the USDA Forest Service is reminding visitors that fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are prohibited on all National Forest System lands.
“There’s no better way to celebrate America’s independence than to explore your national forests,” said Huron-Manistee National Forests Fire and Aviation Staff Officer Chris Peterson. “But fireworks pose a substantial wildfire risk and should be left at home.”
The Huron-Manistee National Forests have already responded to nearly 90 wildfires this season.
Peterson said that more than 98 percent of those wildfires were human-caused and thus preventable. And fireworks aren’t the only culprit.
“Campfire safety is paramount through the summer months,” said Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation Education Specialist D-A Brabazon. “The landscape may look green, but wildfires can occur any time the ground is not completely snow-covered.”
Brabazon recommends drowning each campfire in water, stirring the mixture, and ensuring that it’s cold to the touch before leaving. Campfires should never be left unattended.
Embers can smolder for days at a time in duff, the layer of pine needles, leaves, and other organic material on the forest floor. As conditions become drier, the intensity of these fires can grow to dangerous levels.
For that reason, the Huron-Manistee National Forests urge visitors to:
– Ensure that cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco pipes are fully extinguished when not in use;
– Wait for lighting and heating devices to cool before refueling them; and
– Properly install and maintain spark arresting devices on all internal combustion engines, including those found in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles.