Burn Ban Continues, Campers on Tight Leash

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Park rangers at Sleepy Hollow State Park in Laingsburg aren't taking any chances Saturday. They're visiting each individual campsite, making sure people aren't breaking the governor's burn ban rules with crackling campfires or cigarettes.

"Whenever we check people in, we make sure to inform them of the burn ban," says the park's explorer guide Katie Ferrigan.

The ban only allows fires in contained, supervised areas. Despite the light drizzle many were feeling Saturday, the campground and its surrounding wooded areas are still extraordinarily dry. Just because there's rain doesn't mean the burn ban is lifted.

"Fire conditions have increased very high, and because of those conditions, we don't want people using campfires for cooking in forest areas or smoking in forest areas," says DNR fire prevention specialist Paul Kollmeyer.

Luckily for most campers, the restrictions aren't taking the sizzle out of the outdoor experience. Dan Davis of Grand Rapids says he and his fellow campers are making sure to contain their fires to the pits and are keeping the flames low.

While it is important to keep fires contained, it may be even more important to make sure the fire is completely put out when people leave the site.

"We make sure the fire's down when we leave," says Davis.

DNR says all it takes is one strong breeze to whip up embers and create an out of control fire.

"Two weeks ago we had a brush fire and it ruined an acre," Ferrigan says.

Rangers are hoping campers will be watchful of their fiery fun, because fun it won't be if they get out of hand.

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