Joe Koehn likes sitting around the campfire with his family at Sleepy Hollow State Park, but he's being cautious. That's exactly what Michigan's Department of Natural Resources requested for everyone in the state.
"We've had open pit fires here, but they've just been small ones," Koehn said. "We watch it pretty close, because you don't want it getting away from us, no sparks or anything like that."
That's exactly what park staff is watching out for. Sleep Hollow Park Supervisor Tim Machowicz said they're on special alert monitoring fires. If flames are too big or the contents aren't right, there could be repercussions.
"Be careful with your campfire, the amount of fluid that you put on to start it, the contents of what you're burning, it should just be fire wood, there shouldn't be any scrap food, or plastics or anything like that thrown in there," Machowicz said.
Plus, despite the new legislation, fireworks are absolutely prohibited in state parks. But in the Lansing area, firefighters just want people to use caution. Lansing Fire Department Public Information Officer Eric Weber said they prefer people leave it to professionals and go enjoy a fireworks show, because fireworks at home in these dry conditions can be extremely dangerous.
"It depends on where the embers land, but they can smolder for minutes, if not hours, and then just take the right conditions to find that source of oxygen or the right material and then it could spark unnoticed, and it's when it goes unnoticed that it gets into trouble," Weber said.
That potential for trouble is why all other items that cause an open flame are banned in the Lansing area. That means no lighters, no candles, and no bonfires, even if you have a permit or if they're in a pit.
"If people call and say that there's an open fire, we have to respond," Weber said. "We'll take care of them as they come in, we just know it's probably going to tax us a little bit and increase our run volume."
Weber said grilling is allowed if it's covered, and people are responsible. Weber said to keep a water source close at all times during any of these activities.
The ban is in place indefinitely. Weber said it would take a good rain to change that.