Fire danger is elevated this week; be careful outdoors
A closeup of a properly built debris fire, including flames, space around the fire and a bucket of water nearby and a shovel.
Even with recent showers in some parts of the state, much of Michigan is very dry. That means fire safety is a high priority for anyone working or playing outdoors.
“We are beginning to see seasonal drought conditions across much of the state. Intermittent rainfall in some areas hasn’t been enough to lessen those conditions,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “We urge residents and visitors to use caution when burning.”
The online drought monitor map shows much of the northern Lower Peninsula and the Thumb experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions.
Check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit before you burn to make sure weather conditions allow for safe burning. Use extreme caution when burning. Nine out of 10 wildland fires are human-caused. Yard waste burning is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan.
Fire danger goes up when weather is hot and dry and increases further when it’s windy. Windborne embers can travel far and fast, turning a small fire into a large one. Lightning strikes are also an issue if stormy weather is predicted.
Keep safety in the top of your mind
Always keep these safety tips in mind when you're outdoors:
- Keep campfires or bonfires contained in a pit or ring and make sure you put them out thoroughly before leaving for the night. Douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again.
- Never leave any fire — including hot coals — unattended.
- Always keep a hose or other water source nearby when burning.
- Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging; don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.
- Do not shoot fireworks into the woods, dry grass or shrubs.
- Get more fire safety tips at Michigan.gov/FireManagement.
- It’s illegal to burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam or other household trash. This can release dangerous chemicals into the air.
- You can use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and natural materials.
DNR wildland firefighters have fought more than 170 fires covering more than 3,200 acres so far in 2022.