Michigan’s wildfire fire season is often hottest during May and June, but state residents can help prevent catastrophe with simple steps such as burning with care and landscaping their yards to keep fires from reaching their homes.
To encourage people to become aware of wildfire precautions, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared May 4 as Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Michigan joins other states across the country in the awareness effort begun in 2013 by the National Fire Protection Association.
“People are a leading cause of wildfires in Michigan,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Simple procedures such as trimming trees on your property or getting a permit before burning debris can help save lives and property.”
So far in 2019, DNR firefighters have battled more than 40 wildfires on about 600 acres. During 2018, DNR team members also assisted with wildfires in 10 other states, including the Carr Fire, a 229,000-acre blaze in California that started in late July and burned through the end of August.
Among the things that you can do to prevent fires:
When conditions are dry, be careful using power tools, off-road vehicles and other power equipment outside. A spark from a tool or heat from an exhaust system can quickly set dry grass ablaze.
Go to Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to get a burn permit if you plan to burn debris. Permits are free, but are not issued when conditions are windy, dry or otherwise unsafe.
Always make sure your campfire or bonfire is thoroughly doused with water before leaving it for the night.
Keep a hose handy when using fireworks and avoid shooting them into dry grass or brush.
If you live near the woods or have a cabin or deer camp in the woods, use Firewise landscaping practices to keep trees and vegetation a safe distance from any buildings.