Huron-Manistee National Forests Educate People on Preventing Wildfires

The Huron-Manistee National Forests is educating people on how to prevent wildfires as the danger level for a forest fire could become extreme in some areas this weekend.

“It’s one spark, it’s one gust of wind and it’s one match,” says Mike Trewartha, recreation technician for the Huron-Manistee National Forests.

Between high heat, wind, humidity and the lack of rain over the last few days, fire danger is very high and could even reach extreme this weekend.

Debra-Ann Brabazon, wildfire prevention & mitigation education specialist, says, “In these conditions, it takes just one spark to create a fire in vegetation outside of that area that it can spread rapidly and without easy control.”

On Thursday, Cadillac/Manistee Rangers visited campsites and beaches to educate the nearly 2,000 visitors they see a day on how to properly put out campfires.

Trewartha says, “We talk to individuals about making sure that their fires are completely out before they even remotely leave the site, even if they’re just going to the beach for a little swim.”

He drives around the forest looking for abandoned campfires.

“This is an example of a beach fire that we see typically in the Lake Michigan area,” which Trewartha says on the dunes are not allowed. “One of these gets into an area grass, it can be detrimental real fast.”

For the holiday weekend, Trewartha says he’s worried about people lighting off fireworks, which are also not allowed on federal forest land.

“We just want people to be responsible, we want people to be safe,” says Trewartha. “I love fireworks as well, I love setting them off but when I do it, I make sure I’m in an appropriate spot and that I have the right mitigation so that I can put out something if I start it.”

Important reminders, Brabazon says to keep everyone safe:

“What we need to remember is these natural resources are in public trust and we need to make sure that we are constantly being vigilant.”