Contact: Paul Rogers, 616-260-8406
Agency: Natural Resources
Permits for open burning of yard debris remain suspended across most of the state in response to the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order to reduce the effects of the COVID-19 virus.
Fire danger is also on the increase as temperatures warm up for spring. A number of recent fires have been caused by backyard debris burning, including a 21-acre wildfire in Presque Isle County. Burning debris is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan. DNR firefighters also have stopped conducting prescribed burns at this time.
Despite the moratorium on permits for burning yard debris, campfires for recreation and warming, as well as some agricultural burning, are still allowed.
“We know everybody wants to get out and get things cleaned up, but we need to make sure our emergency response resources are available when and where they are needed during this time,” said Dan Laux, fire supervisor for the DNR Forest Resources Division. “Less open burning means less potential for escaped fires.”
Some burning still is allowed:
- Campfires. Small fires for warming or recreational purposes are allowed. Contain fires in a pit or ring, burn only wood and make sure the fire is thoroughly extinguished before leaving it for the night. Review fire-safety tips at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires.
- Some agricultural burning, including the burning of seasonal trimmings from orchards and vineyards as well as burning related to cleanup of existing cropping systems is allowable. Burning debris (logs/brush) from land clearing operations is not permitted at this time.
- No permit is necessary for a burn barrel fire; however, barrels must have a proper fitting screen or lid, holes no larger than three-quarters of an inch in size, and rest on nonflammable material extending 3 feet on all sides.
Residents are encouraged to check the website Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to see when restrictions are lifted and what is currently allowed. Burn permits in the southern Lower Peninsula are issued by local fire departments and governmental offices; check local ordinances before you burn. In the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula, permits are issued through the website.
Photo by Melissa Hillier