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      The dangers of campground fires

      Scorched earth can be seen as remnants of an active fire season and serve as a reminder of the dangers of campground fires.

      Firefighters are continuing their efforts to contain a brushfire on Sugarloaf Mountain that has now spread to six-and-a-half acres. The fire was most likely caused by an improperly extinguished fire, according to officials.

      The organic material in the forest is sometimes six to eight inches deep, said Doug Barry of the DNR at Van Riper State Park. So they put the fire out on top, but that smolders underneath, way down six, eight inches underground.

      Some campers will then leave the area, neglecting the unseen fire beneath the surface.

      "It may follow a route or follow a rock crevice and pop up somewhere completely different. You may have thought you put it out, but it pops up somewhere else," Barry said.

      Officials are warning curious onlookers to stay away from the affected area. Trees have been collapsing as the fire has eaten away at the organic material and roots supporting them.

      Thus far, there have been 150 wildfires in Michigan, 50 of them in the U.P.

      "Typically in Michigan, April and May are really common for wildfires, said Bryce Avery of the DNR Fire Department. Then you get into a drought like this year, and July, August and September can have significant activity."

      So far the DNR has battled the majority of the blazes, including the one on Sugarloaf. And with the lack of significant rain, officials estimate it could take several more days to extinguish fire.

      If you are camping this holiday weekend, officials warn against campfires. But if you do, be sure to thoroughly douse the fire with water and stir deep into the ground.

      The consequences of carelessness could be scarring.