New burn permit system announced
By Kelly Dame
Once again it's the time of year when officials begin preparing for brush fires. The State of Michigan also is preparing by getting the word out about a new system to obtain burn permits.
The old system involved calling the Department of Natural Resources Sanford Field Office and leaving information on an answering machine.
That's all changed with a federal grant to the DNR that should help lower costs by eliminating extra lines to field stations, said Jerry Turner of the DNR.
The new system works for Midland County and north to the Upper Peninsula, he said, and can be accessed two ways: By telephone at (866) 922-BURN, or by Internet at www.michigan.gov/burnpermit.
Callers will be given a permit number to write down, and the Internet option allows anyone interested in a permit to input their information and print out a paper copy of their own burn permit. The Internet version also tells people if burn permits are being issued.
The new permits are good for 24 hours at a time, expiring at midnight, rather than for three days like the old ones, Turner said. They also are free and are issued depending on local weather reports. Local fire departments, through the Midland County Central Dispatch Authority, will have the capability to obtain the burn permit number if needed.
The changes are especially important because spring, with it's dead grass and leaves on the ground, is the worst time for out of control wild fires, states a DNR media release.
The only items that can be burned are yard debris like leaves, brush, grass and stumps.
The DNR also offers the following tips:
don't burn on a windy day, * never leave a fire unattended, * clear the area 10 feet around what you plan to burn of combustible material, * have a garden hose, shovel and rake nearby, and * burn small piles at a time.
Turner said the statewide advertising campaign about the change has not yet begun, but he's trying to get a jump on it by advertising on MCTV and at The Dow Chemical Co.
©Midland Daily News 2007
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