DNR to allow open burning; permits still required

LANSING — Just over a month since it suspended open burning across the state in response to COVID-19 concerns, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that it will begin issuing burn permits starting Tuesday.

“We’re going to issue burn permits based on local fire risk and weather conditions, just as we have always done,” said Dan Laux, fire section supervisor for the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “We still expect people to practice social distancing and use good sense to prevent the possible transmission of the COVID-19 virus.”

Laux said that firefighters, now with a month of experience during the COVID-19 emergency, have better protocols in place to slow the spread of the virus.

The DNR issues burn permits online at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit if weather and fire danger conditions are favorable. In most of the southern Lower Peninsula, burn permits are issued by local fire departments and local government offices. Make sure to check local regulations before burning.

Open burning of yard debris and brush were suspended March 26 to make firefighters available for emergencies related to COVID-19 and to protect first responders. With more favorable fuel conditions occurring as Michigan moves toward the “green-up” of vegetation where plants and trees are leafing out and filled with sap, fire potential can now be regulated based on local fire danger ratings. These ratings are based on weather conditions, including anticipated wind and rain.

Year after year, burning yard debris is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan. People who want to burn are still expected to check in at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to make sure fires are allowed on the day they want to burn, officials said.

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