Hot, Dry Weather Sends Fire Risk to Extreme Levels in Parts of Michigan

The Fourth of July weekend fire risk is high, especially with uncontrolled fireworks

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI — June 29, 2022

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is issuing warnings about the potential of wildfires in the State. While the northern portions of Michigan are listed as a critical danger area, much of the lower peninsula is subject to seasonal fire risks. Fourth of July fireworks can pose an increased danger.

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.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR

“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.

The danger goes up when the 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.

Fireworks Safety

The safest way to watch fireworks is by enjoying professional displays. Check your municipality’s website to find professional fireworks displays near you or visit michiganfireworks.com for more statewide displays.

If you choose to light your own display of legal fireworks, in addition to considering the potential fire risks, use caution when handling and igniting combustible materials.

The Michigan Poison and Drug Information Center recommends the following safety tips to ensure your celebrations remain safe and enjoyable:

• Do not ingest fireworks

• Wear eye protection

• Avoid picking up lit fireworks

• Keep out of reach of young children

• Avoid letting small children handle fireworks, including sparklers

• Older children should be supervised by an adult when using fireworks

• Designate an area for the person setting off the fireworks, and prohibit anyone else from getting close

• Avoid lighting or using fireworks inside or near a house or garage

• Avoid lighting fireworks near other people or flammable materials and liquids

• Avoid attempting to re-light or handle fireworks that have malfunctioned

• Have a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks, including those that have malfunctioned

• Light one firework item at a time

• Keep animals indoors in a quiet area

• Avoid using fireworks if you are using drugs or alcohol

• Avoid forcing anyone to vomit if fireworks have been ingested