In this day and age, who knows what horrible things can happen, but a controlled-burn fire being staged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the Gourdneck State Game Area beginning earlier Wednesday afternoon is a planned event, according to the Portage Department of Public Safety.

Graphic: Portage MI Dept. of Public Safety
Graphic: Portage MI Dept. of Public Safety

The City of Portage has been notified that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) intends to perform a prescribed fire – sometimes called a controlled burn – in the section of the Gourdneck State Game Area identified on the map below. These prescribed fires can only be conducted when the weather (wind, humidity, temperature, and cloud cover) meets certain specifications. Based on the weather, the DNR expects to conduct this burn TODAY beginning in the late afternoon. The goal of a prescribed fire is to control invasive species and underbrush, create critical habitat for wildlife and encourage new native growth in forested areas. Trained fire staff will use specialized equipment to light and control the fire. - Portage Department of Public Safety via Facebook.

One thing is for sure; no matter how hard you try to publicize events like this, there are still going to be people who are not sure of what's going on.

One woman on Facebook commented: "Were they planning on telling us about the burn in our backyard. This is 1st knowledge for me!"

The same thing has happened in the past few days with the flushing of hydrants in the city of Kalamazoo. Brown water sediment is causing some consternation among the population. Of course given the recent history of water in Michigan, those concerns are certainly understandable.

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If you do have a question for the Michigan DNR about this controlled-burn event, their phone number is (989) 965-3333.

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