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Hiawatha National Forest bans use of charcoal grills, restricts campfire use

Due to worsening fire danger conditions, the Hiawatha National Forest is restricting the building or use of a fire, with the exception of those in Forest Service provided fire rings.
Fire danger and the U.S. National Forest Service logo, used by the Ottawa National Forest.
Fire danger and the U.S. National Forest Service logo, used by the Ottawa National Forest.(WLUC/USFS Ottawa National Forest)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 4:24 PM EDT
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GLADSTONE, Mich. (WLUC) - Due to worsening fire danger conditions, the Hiawatha National Forest is restricting the building, maintaining, attending or use of a fire or campfire with the exception of those in Forest Service provided and maintained fire rings. 

Charcoal grills are also prohibited on all Hiawatha National Forest land (Forest Order R9-10-21-02). These restrictions are meant to reduce the likelihood of wildfire on the Forest and will be in effect June 10, 2021 - July 19, 2021 unless terminated earlier.

Compressed gas camp stoves are still permissible.

Current data shows the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula (including all of the Hiawatha National Forest) to be in abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions. Click here for current drought conditions

Many areas in the U.P. have not had measurable precipitation for more than four weeks, and extended forecasting predicts continued hot and dry conditions.

In addition, several late season frost events have killed emerging leaves on young oak stands and blueberry patches, which have turned the leaves brown and tinder dry. Winter ice and windstorm damage affected several large areas of the eastern U.P. by breaking off tree limbs and tops creating abnormally high dead fuel loading in these areas.

These temporary restrictions will serve to reduce the risk of human caused wildfire in the National Forest. Where campfires are allowed, campers are urged to be extra vigilant when building and extinguishing campfires by doing the following:

  • Think before you strike a match. Check for fire restrictions (Michigan DNR burn permit map) and monitor conditions such as high winds and temperatures. Limit fires to night-time hours or consider not having a campfire.
  • Drown, stir, and touch your campfire before leaving the fire ring to ensure the fire is dead out. Repeat until it is cold to the touch.
  • Stay away from using flammable liquids like gasoline to start your fire.
  • Avoid parking vehicles over tall, dry grass (vehicles cause more acreage burned than any other equipment).
  • Install spark arrestors on outdoor equipment and recreational vehicles and maintain recreational vehicles, trailers, and farm equipment to minimize the potential for sparks or other sources of heat.
  • Check for dragging chains before hauling campers or trailers. Dragging safety chains down the road can quickly become hot and make sparks, causing grass fires.
  • As a reminder, fireworks are not allowed on national forest lands.
  • For up to date information regarding forest closures or restrictions, please visit the forest’s website.

For Hiawatha National Forest camping information visit click here or call the Forest at 906-428-5800.

“Thank you for doing your part to camp safely and prevent wildfire in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.,” the Hiawatha National Forest said in a release.

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