As heat wave continues, wildfire risk is extreme in the Upper Peninsula

·2 min read
A wildfire burns in Michigan's U.P. in May 2012.
A wildfire burns in Michigan's U.P. in May 2012.

The hot, dry weather means there is an extreme risk of wildfire in northern Michigan this weekend, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

This year, DNR wildland firefighters have already put out more than 160 fires, covering nearly 3,000 acres.

Burning debris is the No.1 cause of wildfires in Michigan.

“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.

If you want to burn yarn debris, check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to see whether it’s safe under the current weather conditions.

Though the landscape currently seems lush and green, some vegetation in the Lower Peninsula is dying because of the heat.

Fire risk increases when it is hot and dry, and even more when it’s windy. Fire embers can be windborne as well, allowing fire to spread.

“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,” the department said. That means dousing your fire with water, stirring the ashes, and dousing with water again.

The department shared the following safety tips:

  • 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.

Recent weeks have seen an increased number of fires in the area, with the fire at the Holly Hotel last week and at Somerset Mall and the Woodward Bar & Grill the week prior.

As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, follow your local fire and police departments for fireworks guidelines on how to celebrate safely.

More: Detroit fireworks 2022 set for June 27: Everything you need to know

More: Michigan State Police to shut freeways, roads into downtown Detroit for fireworks

The Farmington Hills Police Department has put out an ordinance allowing for fireworks until 11:45 p.m. each night, from Wednesday to Monday, July 4.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: DNR asks residents to minimize wildfire risk in the Upper Peninsula