REGION- Sunny spring days across most of Michigan have sparked people’s interest in outdoor fun, but warmer weather also stokes wildfire danger. Make fire safety a top priority when working in the yard, riding all-terrain vehicles, or building an evening bonfire.
Some parts of the Upper Peninsula still have melting snow, but those that don’t also are drying fast. Fire danger is expected to remain elevated.
Before burning yard debris or lighting any fire, check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to make sure weather conditions allow for safe burning. In southern Lower Peninsula communities, consult local fire authorities.
People cause most wildfires
Nine out of ten wildland fires are caused by people, and yard waste burning is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan.
Here are tips to keep your outdoor activities fire-safe:
- Keep a hose or other water source nearby when burning.
- Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging when you’re on the road; don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.
- Contain your campfire or bonfire in a pit or ring and make sure you put it 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.
- Never shoot fireworks into the woods, dry grass, or shrubs.
- 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.
Fire safety information, including a map of the daily fire danger rating, is available at Michigan.gov/FireManagement.
Since the beginning of fire season in March, DNR wildland firefighters have fought more than 82 fires covering a total of more than 600 acres.