Dry, windy spring weather has put much of the Lower Peninsula at high risk for wildfires, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Areas of highest concern are southwest Michigan to the top of the northern Lower Peninsula. Fire danger also is elevated from southeast Michigan to the top of the Thumb. Some precipitation set to move in this evening is expected to help with the dry conditions.
The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for the northern Lower Peninsula as well as southwest Michigan, said Paul Rogers, DNR fire prevention specialist. The warnings are in effect until 8 p.m. today (April 22).
“Conditions will be very conducive for fires to build quickly and rapidly, especially with the high winds that are predicted,” Rogers said. “Grass can be dry enough to ignite even if it looks green.”
Everyone in the affected area should take extra precautions to prevent accidental fires. Wait to burn yard debris and wait to use all-terrain vehicles, lawn mowers or other outdoor machinery until later in the evening. In very dry conditions, heat from even a lawn mower or the exhaust pipe of an ATV can ignite dry grass. A trailer chain dragging on pavement also can create sparks.
To find out if it’s safe to burn, get a free burn permit online at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or contact your local municipality.
So far this year, DNR fire staffers have fought 46 fires that burned nearly 360 acres in the state.