2005-07-30 / Top News

Be Careful of Cigarettes, Matches During Drought

Drought conditions on Mackinac Island are becoming severe, said Fire Chief Dennis Bradley, and the precipitation last week has not been enough to ease conditions. “This is getting pretty bad for Mackinac Island,” he said.

There is still a ban on open burning anywhere on the Island, he added, and he cautions people against smoking while in the woods. He is concerned that lightening could also trigger a fire.

Mr. Bradley suggests that people be watchful for fires and call 9-1-1 to report them.

The small amount of rain over the weekend calmed things down a bit for this week, said Scott Heather, state wildlife supervisor at the Department of Natural Resources, but things could get worse.

“We are currently in drought conditions,” he said.

The drought index report at the Onaway field office was at 410, he said earlier this week. Anything over 300 is cause for concern and anything over 400 indicates a loss of vegetation and an increased risk of fire.

He advised that people should refrain from smoking while in the woods and noted that a match can start a fire easier than a cigarette can. He also said people should not shoot off fireworks during this time.

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