Swamp fire prompts more burn warnings

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PERRY, Mich. (WJRT) - (07/12/18) - There are more warnings being issued about the possibility of accidental fires occurring with dry conditions in Mid-Michigan expected to stick around for days.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a warning Wednesday.

“The layer of decomposing leaves and grasses in the ground has dried out,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the DNR. “That means fires that do ignite will burn down into the soils layer, making it harder, and more time-consuming, to put the fire out.”

Mid-Michigan fire departments have been getting the word out, too. Wednesday Perry Area Fire Rescue Chief Guy Hubbard told us about a swamp fire that took extra manpower to bring under control.

"We had two grass rigs that had gotten stuck in the field and they came out and assisted us in removing them and getting them back to where they could actually capably fight the fire," Hubbard said.

A picture on Facebook posted by the Shiawassee County Sheriff's Office shows deputies assisting Perry firefighters. The fire on Winegar Road was initially called in as a field fire that was getting too close to a home, but once firefighters arrived, the fire had spread to a swampy area with long grass.

"This time of the year it's not typical that we have a lot of field fires. Normally in the spring and the fall, but the fact that we haven't had much rain in the last two or three weeks that causes a lot of concern," Hubbard said.

Thus a burn ban is in place here and in several other Mid-Michigan cities and townships.

"The driest areas in the state currently extend from I-96 north to the Mackinac Bridge in the Lower Peninsula, and from M-35 east to Drummond Island in the Upper Peninsula. The dry area is expected to extend south to the I-94 corridor as the weekend approaches," read in a statement from the DNR.

"Avoid any outdoor burning at all, no camp fires, no bonfires, no - even trash barrels. It depends on the township and the fire district. In our fire district, if anyone is caught burning any type of material, there will be a fine assessed by the township," Hubbard said.

For more information on burn permits and whether they are being issued, visit michigan.gov/burnpermit or call 866-922-2876.

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