State issues guidance for cleanup after deadly EF-3 tornado devastates Gaylord

Tornado touched down on May 20

Nearly all of the power lost following a deadly tornado that killed two people and flattened parts of a northern Michigan community has been restored, state police said Sunday.

GAYLORD, Mich. – An EF3 tornado touched down in Gaylord on Friday, killing two and injuring dozens of others.

The tornado caused widespread damage that impacted residents and businesses. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is sharing guidance how on how to manage debris.

“In times of disaster, we are keeping the health and safety of Michiganders at the forefront of cleanup efforts that protect our state’s environment,” EGLE Director Liesl Clark said. “We are committed to help build a safe path to recovery.”

Read: Officials say tornado that touched down in Gaylord was EF-3 with max winds of 150 mph

EGLE shared the following guidelines:

  • After evacuation, be sure to check with local authorities before returning. Upon arrival at the property, conduct a visual inspection to check for any downed power lines.
  • Itemize items on property, with special attention to hazardous materials such as paint, motor oil and solvents. For a list of common types of household hazardous waste and local household hazardous waste collection contacts, visit
  • Use caution when walking through obstructions or large debris piles to avoid hidden hazards, such as nails and other sharp objects.
  • Residents and business owners should treat storm-related construction and demolition debris as potentially containing asbestos, and maintain it in a wet condition until disposal. For more information on handling asbestos waste, visit
  • Debris from homes and businesses should be collected for disposal. This includes structural materials, roofing, insulation, siding, appliances, carpet, furniture and other household items. Otsego County will coordinate mass debris collection and disposal in conjunction with the State Emergency Operations Center. Residents who do not independently manage waste disposal are encouraged to contact local and county municipalities for specific direction.
  • Storm-generated woody and vegetative debris such as trees and untreated wood should be sorted and allowed to dry. These items can be chipped into mulch, composted or saved for municipal collection in areas that do so.
  • Air quality regulations only allow open burning of trees, logs, brush and stumps. For questions about open burning, visit

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