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      DNR emphasizes fire safety for Fourth of July

      With Independence Day less than a week away, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is emphasizing the importance of fire safety. The DNR says that when lighting fireworks, be aware of your surroundings and how dry the conditions are. They also advise campers to put out campfires completely. Even if it is a rainy morning, a sunny afternoon can dry out grass and brush very quickly. Used sparklers should be placed in a bucket of water. Always point fireworks away from homes, and especially use caution with any that fly into the air. Even a single bottle rocket that lands in a dry spot can ignite a wildfire. "Practicing the safe use of fireworks and the handling of fireworks always helps prevent the potential for a wildfire to be started, and we always encourage people to do the safe practice so they don't run the risk of starting a wildfire," said Dan Laux, DNR Forest Fire Specialist.

      DNR officials say the safest course of action is to leave fireworks to the professionals.