Fire danger rises in parts of Michigan as hot, dry weather continues

Red Flag Warning issued for most of Upper Peninsula

Fire danger map as of June 18, 2021.
Fire danger map as of June 18, 2021. (MesoWest)

Dry and hot weather stretches in Michigan have elevated potential fire dangers in parts of the state, mostly in the Upper Peninsula.

Most of Michigan is currently experiencing drought conditions, with parts of the Lower Peninsula, from Kalamazoo to Iosco, in the D2 Severe Drought category. Most of the Lower Peninsula is seeing some rain on Friday morning, but the state is well below average rain totals.

All of this combined gives parts of the state a fire danger rating that is “extreme” in some areas. Fire danger is elevated from the southwest corner of the state into the Upper Peninsula. The National Weather Service is issuing red flag warnings for spots around the state where very warm temperatures, low humidity and stronger winds are expected, including the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.

“Although there have been scattered rains, rainfall is below normal and it’s dry out there,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “People cause the vast majority of wildfires, so it’s critical to use common sense and be careful.”

Burn permits for yard debris will not be issued in many areas through the weekend; check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit in northern Michigan or contact local municipal or fire authorities in the southern Lower Peninsula.

Be careful working, playing outside

Remember to take precautions with these activities:

  • Do not throw cigarettes or matches out the window of a moving vehicle. They can ignite grass on the side of the road.
  • Watch for dragging chains if you are pulling a trailer; they can create sparks.
  • Always make sure your campfire is out before you leave the area. Drown it with water, stir it and carefully feel to make sure it is no longer emitting heat. Always keep a water source and a shovel nearby whenever the fire is burning. Keep campfires within a ring 3 feet or less in diameter.
  • Do not shoot fireworks into the woods or into dry grass or shrubs. Spray the entire area where you are using fireworks with water before using them and again when you are done. Put used sparklers into a bucket of water, as wires can stay hot.
  • When using ORVs or outdoor equipment, keep hot equipment away from dry grass or brush. Ride ORVs only on trails to avoid starting a grass fire.

DNR firefighters have responded so far this fire season to more than 227 fires blackening more than 2,200 acres. Find fire prevention tips, a map of fire danger, and a link to check for burn permits at Michigan.gov/FireManagement.

Related: When fire ravaged Michigan’s Thumb region: ‘A demon in the gale’


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.