The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is warning that high temperatures and limited rainfall expected for the next several days mean that fire danger is high or very high across much of northern Michigan. They advise taking precautions to prevent wildfires through the weekend when working or playing outdoors.
“With conditions this dry, a lot of different things can set off fires,” said Jeff Vasher, fire specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “A spark from a campfire can do it. Heat from an ORV or equipment can do it. A chain dragging from a trailer can do it, or a downed power line.”
Burn permits for yard debris will not be issued in many areas through the weekend; check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit in northern Michigan or contact local municipal or fire authorities in the southern Lower Peninsula.
Even if grass is green, it can still be dry and spread fire, Vasher said. Stands of pine trees also are particularly dry, especially in the eastern Upper Peninsula.
Within the past week or so, DNR firefighters have responded to fires ranging from a few acres to more than 300 acres. People cause about nine out of 10 wildfires in the state. Since the 2021 season began, DNR firefighters have responded to more than 200 wildland fires with over 2,000 acres burned.
Tips to help keep your activities fire-safe
Take extra care and precautions with these activities:
- Campfires can smolder for hours through the night, so always make sure fires are out before you turn in. To make sure the fire is completely extinguished, drown it with water, stir it and carefully feel to make sure it is no longer emitting heat. Always keep a water source and a shovel nearby whenever the fire is burning. Keep campfires within a ring 3 feet or less in diameter. If a fire does get out of hand, call 911 immediately.
- Fireworks are fun but can inadvertently set off a blaze. Do not shoot fireworks into the woods or into dry grass. When you are using fireworks in the yard, soak the grass in the area with a hose and keep the hose handy. Put used sparklers into a bucket of water, as wires can stay hot.
- When using ORVs or outdoor equipment, take steps to minimize sparks and keep hot equipment away from dry grass or brush. Ride ORVs only on trails to avoid starting a grass fire.
For more information on fire management, including fire prevention tips and more, visit Michigan.gov/