DNR reminds residents to obtain burn permits for spring cleanup

Published 2:23 am Thursday, March 23, 2006

By Staff
The Department of Natural Resources today reminded Michigan citizens they must obtain a burn permit before burning any yard debris while doing their spring clean up.
"A recent spike in warmer weather has prompted property owners to get outside and start their spring yard clean-ups," said Paul Kollmeyer, DNR fire prevention specialist. "If you are burning yard debris, such as leaves, twigs, or dead brush, you are required under state law to have a burn permit."
Burn permits can be obtained from local fire departments in southern Michigan and information about permits can be obtain by calling DNR or U.S.
Forest Service offices in the northern Lower Peninsula or Upper Peninsula. A burn permit is required any time there is not snow cover on the ground, Kollmeyer said. Burning in an approved metal barrel with a lid and holes smaller than three-quarters of an inch in diameter does not require a permit.
In addition, Kollmeyer said citizens should observe the following safety tips when burning yard debris in order to prevent a wildfire:
Have garden tools, a charged water hose or other source of water on hand whenever you are burning outside.
Always be sure any outdoor fire is completely extinguished beforeleaving it. Use plenty of water to extinguish your fire and wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces. Stir the ashes to find any remaining hot spots, and douse them with more water.
Do not merely bury your fire with soil. In most cases, this will not extinguish the fire.
Have a garden hose nearby in case your fire begins to escape. If your fire escapes your control, call for help immediately. Improperly extinguished fires are the leading reasons campfires and debris fires escape control.
Recycling is an easy and safe alternative to burning for the disposal of yard wastes. It eliminates the risk of wildfire and the negative health effects of smoke. Recycling yard wastes can be as simple as using eaves to mulch around landscape plants, or plowing them into a garden plot.
Leaves can also be chopped with a lawn mower and left on the yard to decompose naturally. This does not harm the grass, and will enrich the soil.
Additional information about recycling can be obtained from Department of Environmental Quality – Waste Management Division, PO Box 30241, Lansing, MI 48909, or the local Michigan State University Extension Office.
The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.