Hot, dry weather boosts fire danger around Michigan June 19, 2020

Weather across Michigan has been great in recent days – mostly warm, sunny and dry. But that means a higher risk of wildfires.

Most areas in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula currently are at elevated fire risk, and that is expected to continue through the weekend. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says permits for burning yard debris will be restricted, though campfires are still allowed.

“While there is a chance of rain over the weekend, it’s important to know the current risks and keep up to date on restrictions,” said Don Klingler, Lower Peninsula resource protection manager with the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.

Burn permits are required statewide. Residents in the northern Lower and Upper peninsulas can get permission to burn by visiting Michigan.gov/BurnPermit. Elsewhere, contact your local municipality or fire department.

So far this season, DNR fire staffers have fought more than 130 fires on nearly 600 acres.

To further reduce the risk of fire:

  • Be careful when using all-terrain vehicles, lawn mowers or other outdoor machinery. In dry conditions, even heat from a lawn mower or  exhaust pipe of an ATV can ignite dry grass. A trailer chain dragging on pavement can create sparks that ignite grass.
  • Never leave any fire unattended, even for a moment. Make sure all debris fires and campfires are extinguished before leaving the area.
  • Learn more about specific fire danger by region, or get fire prevention tips.

Looking ahead, state park campgrounds across Michigan open June 22. The DNR reminds campers that campfires are permitted only in designated fire rings; it’s best to purchase firewood at your destination, rather than bring firewood from home; and aerial fireworks and sky lanterns are not permitted at state park campgrounds.

Also, in a continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, anyone working outside this weekend is urged to practice safe social distancing of 6 feet or more when with others who live outside their households.

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Lauren B