UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – With summer in full swing, Michiganders and visitors are exploring all the state has to offer. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued reminders on Thursday ahead of the 4th of July weekend to help people recreate safely.
- To check your local fire dangers or plan ahead for places you intend to visit, check out Michigan.gov/DNR/FireAlert where you’ll find the MesoWest Great Lakes Fire & Fuels map
- You can monitor air quality with AirNow.gov’s online tool which follows the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) guidance on air quality precautions
The DNR suggests following some tips to avoid injuries and starting wildfires
- Supervise kids with fireworks and sparklers.
- Keep fireworks away from your face.
- Use fireworks only on a flat paved or gravel surface.
- Spray down the area with water before you start and when you’re done.
- Toss used fireworks and sparklers into a bucket of water.
- Keep a water source ready to spray embers from fireworks.
- Try to reignite “dud” fireworks that don’t go off.
- Wait 15 minutes, then place them in a bucket of water.
- Launch fireworks into forests or fields where dry grass or leaves could ignite.
- Aerial fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets are not allowed at Michigan state parks, harbors or trails.
- Smaller novelty fireworks such as fountains, sparklers and ground spinners are permitted in campgrounds.
Wildfire prevention tips are available here.
To find out if it’s safe to burn brush and leaves, check here.
You can expect to see more DNR conservation officers on the water from July 1-3 as part of, “Operation Dry Water.” The national campaign is focused on enforcing sober boating. Boaters are encouraged to have a sober operator with a valid boater safety education certificate.
Additional information can be found Michigan.gov/RecreationalSafety.
Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week runs July 2-8. Outreach events are planned at more than 50 sites across the state. Boaters are encouraged to follow the to “clean, drain, dry” method with their boats and trailers before getting back on the road.
State law requires boaters to remove plants and debris from boats and trailers, removing drain plugs, and draining bilges, ballast tanks and live wells when you are done on the water. Following these guidelines are encouraged to stop the spread of invasives species such as starry stonewort and zebra and quagga mussels.
If you plan to do some swimming in the Great Lakes, There is a new warning system in place this year. f you see double red flags, you are not allowed to enter the water from the beach. The reasoning could be for a variety of reasons, including hazardous waves and dangerous water conditions, environmental hazards, or if there is a search and rescue operation underway.
The DNR issued some other reminders for safety on the beaches.
- There are no beach guards at state parks.
- Never swim alone and always keep close watch of children and bring U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, especially for new and inexperienced swimmers.
- Water currents near piers, breakwalls and outlets of rivers can be extremely hazardous.
- Visitors in areas without designated swim beaches should use extreme caution because they will not have the benefit of the beach flag warning system or the visual cautions of buoys that mark water depth and obstacles.
- When water access is permitted, be prepared for widely varying water temps; some parts of the Great Lakes are still hovering around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Before leaving home for any beach outing, check local weather reports and lake conditions and learn about the types of Great Lakes currents and how to escape them.
ON THE TRAIL
Beside the attraction of the Great Lakes, many people will be exploring the Upper Peninsula with off-road vehicles.
The DNR offers the following advice for safe riding.
- If you are the first rider (acting as leader) of an ORV group, you can help prevent reckless operation by leading at a safe speed for all rider abilities, conditions and equipment.
- Be cautious of dust clouds, especially during dry weather conditions such as those Michigan is now experiencing. Dust clouds can impair your ability to see nearby riders, trees and other objects, making it challenging to determine a safe stopping distance.
- Ride at a safe speed based on your abilities and the machine’s capabilities. Know the trail conditions.
- Ride sober; open alcohol is not allowed on side-by-sides or any other ORV.
- Ride on the right side of the trail.
- Wear a helmet and other appropriate safety gear, such as eye protection, gloves, footwear and chest protectors.
- Ride with your lights on to increase your visibility to others.
- Always supervise ORV operators who are under the age of 16 (it’s the law).
- Complete an approved ORV safety course.
- Refer to manufacturer guidelines for passenger limits.
- Stay on the trail and watch where you park.
Learn more about ORV safety, here. Michigan.gov/RideRight