Michigan fire danger escalates

Residents in northern Michigan should be careful with fire this weekend as dry, windy conditions are expected to escalate the danger of wildfires.

“The highest threats will be in the Upper Peninsula, where there has been an extended dry period,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The caution includes the northern Lower Peninsula as well as the entire Upper Peninsula. Elevated temperatures and strong winds predicted through Monday increase the risk posed by dry conditions.

The fire danger is expected to peak Sunday and Monday, with winds subsiding Tuesday.

Those who plan to burn agricultural or yard debris must check online first at michigan.gov/burnpermit for authorization to burn in their area. Permits are issued only when conditions are safe to burn.

The DNR asks everyone to use common sense around campfires.

“Take all precautions when having campfires, such as having water and a shovel handy,” Rogers said.

During the most recent period of elevated fire danger, Michigan had a total of 40 wildfires in a single day (May 1), including a 44-acre fire that closed a portion of I-75 in Crawford County, a nearly 80-acre fire near Cadillac and a 105-acre fire in Newaygo County.

The majority of wildfires in Michigan are caused by humans, with out-of-control debris burning as a top cause.