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Hot, dry weather sends fire risk to extreme levels in parts of Michigan

MICHIGAN – Wildfire danger is forecast to be extreme or very high across much of northern Michigan this weekend, so please be careful when working and playing outside.

“First and foremost, check to make sure that weather conditions are favorable before attempting to burn yard debris,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Debris burning that escapes is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan.”

While the landscape seems green and lush now, some vegetation is drying across the Lower Peninsula, Rogers said.

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.

If you intend to burn yard debris, go to Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to see if weather conditions allow for burning.

If you’re building a campfire or bonfire, keep it within a contained pit or ring and make sure to thoroughly put it out before leaving the area. That means dousing your fire with water, stirring the ashes and dousing again.

Here are other safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Never leave any fire unattended.
  • Keep a hose or other water source nearby.
  • Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging and don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.
  • Do not shoot fireworks into the woods or into 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.
  • Use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and natural materials.

So far in 2022, DNR wildland firefighters have fought more than 160 fires covering nearly 3,000 acres.

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