Local officials want state to pay for wildfires

Capital News Service
LANSING — Good neighbors pay to put out their fires. That’s why Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, says he introduced a bill that would allow the state to compensate localities for fighting fires on state-owned land through the already-established Forest Development Fund. “This is state land and the state needs to be taking care of it,” he said. “It’s to the point where the state is a terrible neighbor.”

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does have fire crews and says on its website that it has the overall responsibility for wildfires. It also receives help from the U.S. Forest Service and local fire departments.

Weather, staffing fuel forest fire fears

Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan can expect more wildfires this year, officials warn. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is predicting a greater number of forest fires and more acres burned as a result of an unusually warm winter. To make matters worse, long-term shrinking of firefighting resources has reduced the state’s capacity to quell blazes, according to DNR Director Rodney Stokes. DNR fire supervisor Scott Heather said Michigan is already seeing blazes much earlier than usual. “Usually for the Lower Peninsula, the season for fires begins around the third week of March,” Heather said.