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      Campers cautious about high fire danger

      The DNR offers the following reminders for campers this weekend:

      • Remember that consumer fireworks that explode or fly into the air, when improperly used, are the cause of many wildfires each year. These types of fireworks can now be purchased in Michigan.
      • Be aware that fireworks will easily ignite grass or wooded areas and should only be lit in areas free of vegetation.
      • Understand that setting off fireworks on public property is prohibited without proper authorization.
      • Keep campfires small and do not leave them unattended at any time, for any reason.
      • Be certain all fires and barbeques are completely extinguished. Use plenty of water, stir and add more water until everything is wet and no steam is produced.
      • Turn over unburned pieces of wood left in a fire pit and wet the underside.
      • Soak unburned pieces of BBQ charcoal in a bucket of water before disposing of them.
      • Do not simply cover a campfire with soil. This is an inadequate way to put a fire out, disguises the heat smoldering beneath and often becomes a hazard for anyone that may accidentally step in the coals.

      J udy Herbolsheimer and her family are enjoying the holiday weekend at Otsego Lake State Park and tonight they plan on having a camp fire to spend some family time. With the high fire danger, she plans to keep a close eye on the flames.

      "T here's lots of fires that you see that start from small campfires that can burn acres and acres and destroy homes and all that stuff so its very scary to think of ," Herbolsheimer explained.

      J ust a few camps down, Pat Daly also plans to enjoy a campfire. He's worried someone else's fire could get out of control.

      "W ith all this dry weather it wouldn't take much to have a real tragedy, i'm concerned ," Daly said.

      The Department of Natural Resources is mak ing sure the campers know that the fire danger levels here in Northern Michigan are high and campers who want to have fires need to be safe.

      "O bviously its hot out so we don't need a fire for the heat, but it ' s nice to watch a fire burn at night, let it settle down before you go to bed. Watch for any sparks that might jump out, and extinguish them quickly," Otsego Lake State Park Supervisor Charlie Maltby said.

      M altby says you're still allowed to have a fire in a fire pit at the parks , but it's a different story when it comes to fireworks. They're not allowed right now on state land due to the dry conditions. But, park officials say they want you to know, they're not out to spoil your fun, as long as you're safe and follow the rules.

      "W e love having the family all around the campfire and being able to just sit together and enjoy it and having the kids there and just roasting marshm a llows, making pies, all that fun stuff ," Herbolsheimer said.