The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is urging residents and visitors alike to be cautious with outdoor fires this Labor Day weekend.

In a release, DNR fire prevention specialist Dan Laux said that despite the rain we have received recently, fire fuels such as grass and leaves are approaching the end of their growing season, which means that once they die, they can dry out quickly. 

Laux says that a few simple precautions can ensure fire safety:

  • Clear away all flammables before lighting a fire.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. Even for a moment.
  • Have water available in case a fire begins to flare up. If a fire does escape, call 911 immediately before attempting to put it out.
  • When done with a fire, drown it with plenty of water. Wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces. Stir the ashes to find any hot embers and wet everything again.
  • Do not simply bury a fire; soil will act as an insulating blanket and mask the head beneath the surface.
  • Always make sure fires are completely out. Carelessness and improperly extinguished coals are a leading cause of escaped fires.

The DNR states that they want folks to be able to enjoy their time this weekend with friends and family, but they also want everyone to keep fire safety in mind while doing so.

So far in 2015, the DNR has responded to 325 wildfires that have burned more than 2,800 acres.

For more information on campfire tips, wildfire prevention, burn permits and fire preparedness, visit the DNR's fire prevention website.