wildfire risk

Warning: 'Wildfire Risk' Across Lower Peninsula, Including In Metro Detroit

April 22, 2019 - 10:01 am

(WWJ) The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is warning about the danger of wildfires today all over the Lower Peninsula.

A wildfire risk warning had originally been issued for northern lower Michigan, but DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Paul Rogers says dry conditions have caused officials to extend the warning to the entire Lower Peninsula, including the metro Detroit area. 

Why the worry? 

"The snow's all completely melted,"  Rogers explained, "and the fine fuels, which are the grasses and the pine needles, now they've dried out after the long winter and they've become very combustible. This time of year we are seeing, and we have seen over the last few days, very low humilities and there's been quite a bit of moisture in the Upper Peninsula, but northern and lower is quite dry."

A wildfire risk map showed the risk ranging from "high" to "very high" as of late Monday morning -- depending on exactly where you live in Southeast Michigan -- with a few areas still in the "medium" range.

"Today they're actually forecasting 'very highs' across the entire state of Michigan and the entire Lower Peninsula, and we're seeing 'high' to 'medium' fire dangers on the far eastern side, like from basically Flint to the Lake Huron shoreline."  ((SEE THE MAP HERE))

Residents in these areas are advised against any outdoor burring. If you must burn, Rogers said, do so with caution. 

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has issued a Red Flag Warning until 8 p.m., meaning that critical fire weather conditions are occurring now or will be shortly. 

Looking ahead, rain should be moving into the state soon, with showers and maybe a thunderstorm expected Tuesday, which Rogers said should help to minimize the wildfire risk.

According to the DNR, around 600 wildfires are reported in Michigan each year.