NEWAYGO, Mich. — In response to Governor Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Newaygo County Emergency Services reminded residents Satuday morning that permits for open burning will be suspended across the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued the order Monday, aimed at further protecting public health and safety.
“Open burning” is defined in the order as the burning of unwanted materials such as paper, trees, brush, leaves, grass, and other debris where smoke and other emissions are released directly into the air. Contained, recreational campfires are still allowed.
Any person who violates this part or any rule promulgated under this order is subject to being guilty of a misdemeanor, according to Part 515 of Act 451 - The prevention and suppression of Forest Fires, Section 324.51512. Refusal to extinguish the fire could result in fines up to $100,000
“We need to make sure our emergency response resources are available where they are needed at this time,” said Dan Laux, fire supervisor for the DNR Forest Resources Division. “Less open burning means less potential for escaped fires, and that means staff can deal with other, more critical needs. It’s out of an abundance of caution that we want to support the statewide effort to fight COVID-19. Suspending burn permits in much of the state means fewer people will be burning debris – the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Michigan.”
Open burning in some parts of the state may still be allowed in areas where the ground is still snow-covered. Burn permits in the southern Lower Peninsula are issued by local fire departments and governmental offices.
In the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula, permits are issued through the DNR’s website Michigan.gov/BurnPermit . Residents are encouraged to frequently check the website to see when restrictions are lifted.