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Archive | June, 2022

Nelson Township home destroyed by fire

By Judy Reed

This home at 8707 Becker St NE was totally destroyed by fire last weekend. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Nelson Township couple was left homeless last Saturday, June 25, after the house they had lived in for 40-plus years was destroyed in a fire.

Gladys Dodger told the Post that she and her husband, Bill, had left their home at 8707 Becker earlier in the day to attend a class reunion. On their way back, they stopped at a garage sale on 16 Mile Rd and could see smoke. “I thought, ‘Oh, it looks like someone’s house is on fire,’” she said. When they got near their house, they realized it was their own home on fire.

Firefighters work to extinguish the fire. Post photo by J. Reed.

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser said the call came in at 2:28 p.m. “A neighbor said he heard a loud pop, and went outside and heard another. His daughter went over and saw the fire and they called 911.

Fraser said the home was a two-story with an attached garage and a breezeway in between.  The heat and intensity of the fire made it difficult to fight. “It was a defensive battle,” noted Fraser.

A firefighter takes a break from the intense heat and smoke from the fire on Becker. Post photo by J. Reed.

Sand Lake, Courtland, and Spencer Township Fire Departments all helped Cedar Springs put out the blaze. They cleared the scene at 5:48 p.m.

Firefighters investigated the rubble after the fire but could not determine a cause or point of origin. “With that much destruction, there was nothing there to look for,” explained Fraser.

Gladys said nothing was on when they left the house, and they had no idea what could’ve caused it.

She said that she and Bill had lived in the house since 1978, and had raised four children there, all graduates of Cedar Springs Schools. “That’s a lot of memories,” she said.

A gofundme page has been set up for the Dodgers at https://gofund.me/bc77f37a.

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Sand Lake Grand Marshal 2022

Sharon Bolthouse is this year’s Grand Marshal

By Stacy Rudicil, Sand Lake Chamber of Commerce

The Sand Lake July Fourth celebration starts this Friday, July 1, and Sharon Bolthouse was chosen to be this year’s Grand Marshal for the 2022 festivities.

Sharon Bolthouse was born in 1952 at Butterworth hospital, to Ivan Leroy & Alma Groner, and started her life right here in Sand Lake, Michigan. Her parents owned farmland right here in the village of Sand Lake on Maple St.  Ivan Leroy Groner was a WWII POW. He was reported deceased but escaped. 

Sharon is a Tri-County graduate. She and her husband, Dan Bolthouse, have been married for 48 years and have three children, Jamie Bolthouse, Kari Frey, and Kyle Bolthouse. All are Tri-County graduates. 

Sharon and Dan now have six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

Many know Sharon as Mrs. Bolthouse the pre-school teacher, at the Sand Lake Resurrection Lutheran Church, where she has taught and inspired pre-school age children for 30 years. Sharon has made a big impact on these kids. Even years later, they will still mention her, or will run into her anywhere in the community, and say “There is Mrs. Bolthouse!” Or parents will share with her, “My child still asks about you.” Sharon will say her favorite thing about teaching was all the hugs she received. Sharon is a staple in our community and has made a big impact on the children she has taught and built relationships with. Sharon is also creative, doing the Sand Lake Easter egg story and helping out with the annual Sand Lake Easter Egg hunts. 

Sharon is also a member of the Sand Lake Historical Society. They work together to preserve the history of Sand Lake and to help raise funds to meet the expenses of doing this and maintaining our Sand Lake Museum building.

Sharon says one thing she loves about the 4th of July Celebration is “Seeing the community come together and everyone that comes to our little town. I want to wish everyone a very happy 4th of July!”

We want to Thank Mrs. Bolthouse for making a huge impression on the kids in our community and being a community servant over the years. She has been an inspiration to many.

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Cedar Springs man confesses to shooting and leaving deer

Pleaded not guilty to five count misdemeanor

Edward Trout, 29, of Cedar Springs, confessed to Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers that he illegally shot and abandoned multiple deer in northeast Kent County.

The Post first wrote about the story in early February, after being contacted by residents in the area, and then speaking with DNR Sgt. Jeff Rabbers.

Since late January, eight tipsters have contacted the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline, reporting gunfire at night and deer carcasses located on or near properties in Nelson and Spencer townships. At the time of the first article, deer had been reported found on 17 Mile, 19 Mile, 20 Mile, Harvard, Pringle, and Tisdel. 

“It’s pretty rare to see that many taken that quickly, in that way,” Rabbers told the Post at the time. “It’s a large area of complaints and carcasses that have been found. It’s very concerning.”

Trout originally faced three charges in connection to the deer; since failing to appear for his original court date on June 3, he accumulated two additional charges for illegally taking snapping turtles. 

On Friday, June 24, in Kent County’s 63rd District Court, Trout pleaded not guilty to a five-count misdemeanor, including the charges of:

  • Two counts of hunting and fishing without a license (up to $250 in fines, per count);
  • Taking game from a vehicle (up to $500 in fines);
  • Taking, possessing deer out of season ($1,000 per deer);
  • Using illegal fishing devices (up to $1,000 in fines).

Trout’s hunting and fishing privileges have been suspended until he is scheduled to reappear in court on July 19. He faces jail time, reimbursement to the state for illegally taken wildlife, court costs and losing his hunting and fishing privileges. Officers seized Trout’s firearm, crossbow, homemade spear and additional evidence.

“We’re grateful for the concerned community members who reported the many dead, gunshot deer that were discovered throughout these communities, which helped officers identify a suspect,” said Chief Dave Shaw, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “The suspect has continued to display repetitive, unethical behavior while stealing public trust resources and allowing them to go to waste.”

In January, Conservation Officers Casey Varriale and Justin Ulberg began investigating the tips, often locating deer that appeared to have been shot from near the roadway. 

By Feb. 13, officers investigated 13 deer that had been shot and abandoned in the two townships.

After hearing several news stories about the poaching, a concerned community member anonymously contacted the Report All Poaching hotline on Feb. 14. The tipster reported local rumors of Trout driving around over two to three nights, shooting deer from his vehicle.

Varriale interviewed Trout, who admitted to three instances of going out and shooting at deer, stating that he “relieved frustration by driving around at night, listening to music and occasionally shooting his pistol into vacant fields from his pickup truck,” often while under the influence of alcohol and/or marijuana.

Trout did not remember the exact times and dates but provided Varriale with a map of where the shootings took place and admitted to shooting at least five deer.

During the investigation, officers retrieved additional evidence that since 2020, Trout has a history of driving around at night and shooting deer from his vehicle. Trout initially denied the history of offenses until he was presented with a series of text messages where he openly told people about his illegal activities.

On June 7, Varriale began investigating a new tip that Trout was spearing turtles at Pine Lake, also located in Cedar Springs.

In Michigan, snapping turtles can be harvested from July 15-Sept. 15 using a trap or a hook and line.

The caller reported that Trout has been seen fishing late at night and leaving multiple lines unattended. Additionally, Trout has been seen spearing and leaving snapping turtles on the shore.

During the June investigation, Trout blamed family members for the unattended fishing lines, and stated he speared the snapping turtles because he feared for his children’s safety while they were fishing. Varriale located multiple speared turtles, including one with a spear still in it, among other evidence.

Conservation Officers Jeremy Beavers, Anna Cullen and Sgt. Jeff Rabbers assisted with the deer investigation.

Anyone with information about wildlife crimes can anonymously contact the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline by calling 1-800-292-7800 or using the online reporting form available at Michigan.gov/RAP.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect residents through general law enforcement and conducting lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

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Suspects arrested for stealing cars from dealership

Five vehicles were stolen from an Algoma Township car dealership last week, and so far three teens are suspects in the case.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, a vehicle was found running in the parking lot of Northview High School, in Plainfield Township, just after 6 a.m. on Wednesday, June 22. Deputies arrived on the scene and discovered that the vehicle belonged to a car dealership in Algoma Township—Graff Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, 4395 14 Mile Rd, west of Northland Drive.  Other deputies were summoned to check the car dealership.  When they arrived, deputies located a broken window at the dealership.  Upon further investigation, it was found that five vehicles had been taken overnight from the dealership.

One vehicle was recovered in the 3000 block of Creek Dr SE in the City of Kentwood. Two vehicles were recovered in the 2400 block of Normandy Dr SE in the City of Grand Rapids. One more vehicle was involved in a breaking and entering in Muskegon Township and a subsequent police chase through Ottawa County.

Initial information found that at least three individuals were involved in the break-in of the car dealership. Over the weekend, two 17-year-old males from Plainfield Township were arrested in connection with breaking into the car dealership and stealing five vehicles.  A third 17-year-old from the City of Grand Rapids was identified as a suspect as well. The third suspect was apprehended by Ottawa and Muskegon County authorities after a police chase ended along I-96 and is currently being held on their charges.

KCSO detectives are continuing to work on any other outstanding suspects involved in the theft.  A break in the case came in form of a tip from the community via Silent Observer.  “Thank you to the community for coming forward in helping bring further closure to this case and stem potential future crimes used with these stolen vehicles,” said the KCSO in a statement.

The disturbing increase of stolen vehicles continues. “The KCSO continues to dedicate the resources of our detective bureau and other area law enforcement task force to find those perpetrating these crimes.  Stealing vehicles is a property crime.  However, in many instances, these vehicles are used to commit homicides, shootings, armed robberies, burglaries of gun stores, and other dangerous crimes.

“The KCSO reminds car dealerships and car repair facilities to lock up keys in an out-of-sight area during the overnight hours.”

If you have information that could help to move the investigation forward, please call the KCSO at 616-632-6125, or call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345 to report information safely.

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Summer reading leads to super fun

June was a very exciting and busy month for the Cedar Springs Public Library. Not only did they launch their Summer Reading Program but they hosted two family events that were fun for all ages to enjoy!  

On June 20, famous Marvel Comic Artist, Jerry DeCaire, entertained and drew for 64 guests at the Library. Jerry fascinated the crowd with his quick sketching skills and handed out several personal drawings for children to take home.  

Then on June 28, Animal Educator and Entertainer, Mark Rosenthal, wowed 165 guests with his Animal Magic show! Both children and adults were captivated by the 5 unique animals they got to see and one was even famous.  

The Library’s next Family event is The Wolverine Skyhawks model airplane show scheduled for July 13 at 6 p.m., located at 13540 West Street in Cedar Springs.  No registration is required. It’s free to attend and all ages are welcome.  For a complete event list and more details about their Summer Reading Program, please visit www.cedarspringslibrary.org

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Library furniture fundraiser for children’s area

For more than 100 years, the Cedar Springs Public Library has served the Cedar Springs community and surrounding areas through changing times. With support from individuals, service organizations, and local businesses, the Library is able to change with the times. It is time, once again, for the library to change through the Furniture for Families Fund. This fund would enhance the Children’s area to provide more comfortable and moveable furniture, an alphabet rug, and magnetic and sensory boards to stimulate creativity and play. They hope to raise $3,000 toward this effort. Your support to this fund would help them turn this vision into a reality!

To donate, cash or check can be dropped off at the Cedar Springs Public Library at 107 N. Main St., Cedar Springs, MI 49319. In appreciation of your support, a sign will be hung in the Children’s area with all the donors’ names.

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Cost of July 4th cookout 17 percent higher than last year

U.S. consumers will pay $69.68 for their favorite Independence Day cookout foods, including cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, strawberries and ice cream, based on a new American Farm Bureau Federation marketbasket survey.

The average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is $69.68, which breaks down to less than $7 per person. The overall cost for the cookout is up 17 percent or about $10 from last year, a result of ongoing supply chain disruptions, inflation and the war in Ukraine.

The marketbasket survey shows the largest year-to-year price increase was for ground beef. Survey results showed the retail price for 2 pounds of ground beef at $11.12, up 36  percent from last year. Several other foods in the survey, including chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, fresh-squeezed lemonade, pork and beans, hamburger buns, and cookies, also increased in price.

“Despite increased food prices, in many cases the higher prices farmers are being paid aren’t covering the rise in farm expenses,” said Loren Koeman, Michigan Farm Bureau lead economist. “Supply chain disruptions and inflation have made farm supplies, like fuel and fertilizer, more expensive. Just like consumers, farmers are price-takers—not price-makers.”

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home and general inflation across the economy. Both the index and the marketbasket show increases of more than 10% compared to year-ago levels.

According to the USDA, farmers currently receive approximately 8 percent of every food marketing dollar. The farmers’ share of the retail food dollar is as low as 2 percent to 4 percent for highly processed foods such as bread and cereal, and can be 35 percent or more for some fresh products.

One bright spot for consumers is the average retail price for strawberries, which declined by 86 cents compared to a year ago. Sliced cheese and potato chips also dropped in price, 48 cents and 22 cents, respectively. Better weather conditions in some fruit-growing regions and greater retailer pricing flexibility for processed products are the likely drivers behind the modest price declines for these items. 

“While some costs are slightly higher there remains an abundance of food thanks to the tireless work of farmers in Michigan, and across the country,” Koeman said. “Farmers are resilient and steadfast in their commitment to providing healthy, nutritious food to families in America and beyond.”

Individual prices, AFBF 2022 summer cookout:

  • 2 pounds of ground beef, $11.12 (+36%)
  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $8.99 (+33%)
  • 32 ounces of pork & beans, $2.53 (+33%)
  • 3 pounds of center cut pork chops, $15.26 (+31%)
  • 2.5 quarts of fresh-squeezed lemonade, $4.43 (+22%)
  • 2.5 pounds of homemade potato salad, $3.27 (+19%)
  • 8 hamburger buns, $1.93 (+16%)
  • Half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, $5.16 (+10%)
  • 13-ounce bag of chocolate chip cookies, $4.31 (+7%)
  • 2 pints of strawberries, $4.44 (-16%)
  • 1 pound of sliced cheese, $3.53 (-13%)
  • 16-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.71 (-4%)

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July Fourth is for fireworks, not foodborne illness

WASHINGTON, JUNE 28, 2022 – Pull out the grill and your red, white, and blue because the Fourth of July is here. This means gatherings, outdoor festivities, and good times with family and friends. As the meat sizzles on the grill, don’t let food safety fizzle out of your memory.

“Wherever you go this summer, don’t forget to bring your safe food handling practices along for the adventure,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Sandra Eskin. “As temperatures rise, the risk for foodborne illness does too. Always remember that whether you’re grilling for the Fourth of July, camping, or boating, you should wash your hands before and during food prep.”

Whether you’re eating at home or outdoors at a park this Fourth of July, sanitation is key to combat foodborne illness. Be sure to wash your hands and sanitize your cooking area before preparing food. Safe food handling practices also help to avoid cross-contamination. Summertime brings additional unique challenges to food safety because of the warmer temperatures. Be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold this Fourth of July, and don’t forget your food thermometer.

Clean and Sanitize

Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. A recent USDA study (PDF, 1.3 MB) showed that 56 percent of participants didn’t attempt to wash their hands during meal preparation. When preparing your Fourth of July meal, don’t skip this step. Remember, hand sanitizer is not as effective as handwashing, but it’s better than nothing. If you’re out camping and have no access to running water, use hand sanitizer as a backup.

Wash surfaces and utensils with soap and warm water before cooking and after contact with raw meat and poultry. After cleaning surfaces that raw meat and poultry have touched, apply a commercial or homemade sanitizing solution (1 tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water). Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination is another risk to your summertime fun. Don’t let it spoil your plans or your food. Cross-contamination can happen even when grilling or getting food prepared to grill. In USDA’s recent observational study, 32 percent of participants contaminated plates and cutting boards and 12 percent contaminated spice containers while preparing food.

Be sure to wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. Any utensils that contacted raw meat must also be cleaned. Use separate plates for taking raw meat to the grill and then pulling cooked meat off the grill. USDA recommends using separate cutting boards; one for meat, and another for fruits and vegetables.

Keep Hot Foods Hot and Cold Foods Cold

Whether you’re transporting food to go hiking, camping, to a barbeque, or a picnic, the rule stays the same: keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Food is in the “Danger Zone” when it is in the temperature range of 40 F and 140 F. If in the “Danger Zone” for too long, bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels. Perishable foods (such as hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken wings) should be discarded if left out longer than two hours, or one hour if outdoor or indoor temperatures in the area are above 90 F.

Keep cold foods at a temperature of 40 F or below by keeping food nestled in ice, in a cooler with a cold source, or refrigerated until ready to serve.

Keep hot foods at a temperature of 140 F or above by placing food on a grill, in a preheated oven, warming trays, chafing dishes or slow cookers.

The warmer the temperature, the sooner food needs to be refrigerated. Be sure to bring a cooler with ice to the next cookout to preserve any perishable foods.

Use a Food Thermometer

Many people use cues like grill marks, color, taste, and firmness to see if their food is fully cooked, but these tests come with great risk of getting food poisoning. Measuring the internal temperature of meat with a food thermometer is the safest way to see if your food is fully cooked. Be sure that the thermometer reaches the thickest part of the meat, through the side, for the most accurate temperature reading. USDA research showed that an alarmingly low number of participants in the control group—just 55 percent—relied on a food thermometer to determine if their food was safe to eat. This is a stark decline from the previous study where 77 percent used a food thermometer.

Whatever you’re cooking this summer, be sure to use a food thermometer. The following foods are safe to eat once they’ve reached these internal temperatures:

  • Cook beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts to 145 F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
  • Cook fish to 145 F.
  • Cook ground meats (beef, pork, lamb and veal) to 160 F.
  • Cook ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to 160 F.
  • Cook egg dishes to 160 F.
  • Cook poultry (whole or ground) to 165 F.

These findings are part of a multi-year, mixed-method study that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) commissioned to evaluate various consumer food handling behaviors. The study uses test kitchens, focus groups and nationally representative surveys to better understand food safety practices and experiences with food recalls, foodborne illness, and FSIS food safety resources. More information about this study is available in an executive summary (PDF, 102 KB).

For more food safety information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), email MPHotline@usda.gov or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

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Take precautions for pets for 4th of July

Keep pets safe at home during fireworks to fight shelter overcrowding

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. June 27, 2022 — With more pets running away on the 4th of July than any other day of the year, shelter intake rates are once again set to skyrocket after the holiday weekend. As Independence Day celebrations begin, BISSELL Pet Foundation is sharing tips to minimize fear and protect your pet from becoming lost.

According to 24Pet ShelterWatch data, July is consistently the highest month for intakes in our nation’s animal shelters. Shelters across the country are already in crisis with overcrowding and other significant obstacles such as longer length-of-stay for pets, seasonal high intake of puppies and kittens, lack of spay/neuter services during the pandemic, short staffing and slowed adoptions. BISSELL Pet Foundation is committed to fighting shelter overcrowding. One aspect of this is ensuring pet owners take all necessary precautions to keep their pets safe during celebrations to minimize the risk of a pet escaping and getting lost or ending up at a shelter.

“Shelters are full right now and space is limited. Please be proactive to keep your pet safe at home and ensure they are microchipped with updated information,” said Cathy Bissell, Founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “A microchip is not a GPS, but it will increase your chances of reuniting with your pet if they are ever lost.”

To keep pets safe during the holiday weekend, BISSELL Pet Foundation is encouraging pet owners to:

  • Keep pets indoors in a quiet place where they will feel comfortable. Give pets their favorite toy and check on them often to ensure they are calm.
  • Be sure your pet has a microchip with up-to-date information.
  • Always keep ID tags on your pet and ensure the collar and tags are secure.
  • Tire your pets out by spending more time exercising them than normal to keep them calm.

As our nation’s shelters face unprecedented overcrowding, BISSELL Pet Foundation is doing its part to take homeless pets from kennels to couches with the longest-ever Summer National Empty the Shelters event! From July 11-31, adopt a dog or cat for a reduced fee from one of hundreds of participating shelters throughout the country. A full list of participating shelters will be available soon at https://www.bissellpetfoundation.org/empty-the-shelters/.

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Man dies from accidental injury

A 57-year-old Cedar Springs man died Sunday as the result of injuries he incurred while attaching a camper trailer to a vehicle.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue, the call came in at 11:08 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, from the 300 block of West Cherry Street, in the City of Cedar Springs. Police said that while working around the trailer and vehicle, the equipment moved and pinned the man underneath the trailer.

When the fire department arrived, they jacked up the vehicle and lifted it off the man and performed CPR, but he did not survive.

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Man drowns in Crystal Lake

A Saginaw man who had been swimming with friends drowned in Crystal Lake last weekend.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, they responded to the call about 6:55 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at Crystal Lake, in Crystal Township.

Police said that the 22-year-old man from Saginaw had been in the water, with friends, off a boat that was approximately 100 yards from shore on a sand bar and had disappeared. When deputies arrived, they began to search for the man.

The Sheriff’s Dive Team recovered the body of the man in approximately 8 feet of water. The man, identified as Daiton Deion Vinson-Sharp, was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:11 p.m. The incident remains under investigation.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by the Michigan State Police, Montcalm County EMS, Crystal Township Fire Department, and Montcalm County Central Dispatch.

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Hot, dry weather sends fire risk to extreme levels in parts of Michigan

From the Michigan DNR

Wildfire danger is forecast to be extreme or very high across much of northern Michigan this weekend, so please be careful when working and playing outside.

“First and foremost, check to make sure that weather conditions are favorable before attempting to burn yard debris,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Debris burning that escapes is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan.”

“While the landscape seems green and lush now, some vegetation is drying across the Lower Peninsula,” Rogers said.

Danger goes up when weather is hot and dry and increases further when it’s windy. Windborne embers can travel far and fast, turning a small fire into a large one.

If you intend to burn yard debris, go to Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to see if weather conditions allow for burning, or call your local city or township fire department.

If you’re building a campfire or bonfire, keep it within a contained pit or ring and make sure to thoroughly put it out before leaving the area. That means dousing your fire with water, stirring the ashes and dousing again.

Here are other safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Never leave any fire unattended.
  • Keep a hose or other water source nearby.
  • Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging and don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.
  • Do not shoot fireworks into the woods or into dry grass or shrubs.

Get more fire safety tips at Michigan.gov/FireManagement.

It’s illegal to burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam or other household trash. This can release dangerous chemicals into the air.

Use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and natural materials.

So far in 2022, DNR wildland firefighters have fought more than 160 fires covering nearly 3,000 acres.

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