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DNR expects an early fire season in Michigan after mild winter; here's what to know

Posted at 10:23 AM, Mar 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-06 15:09:34-05

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is telling people to prepare for an early fire season after a mild winter and last year's hot, dry conditions.

According to the DNR, firefighters have already responded to several wildfires this year, and they responded to nearly 400 wildfires last year.

The department is asking people to keep several things in mind as we go into the warm part of the year, including checking permits, putting safety first and more.

As a reminder, you do need a burn permit required for open burning any time the ground is not completely covered by snow.

The DNR said before burning yard debris like brush or leaves, check Michigan.gov/BurnPermitto see if weather conditions are safe. On the site, there's a map that shows locations where burning is permitted.

The cost of a permit is free and you don't need to wait for written notice. In the southern Lower Peninsula, burn permits are issued by local authorities.

“Don’t be a statistic,” said DNR fire prevention specialist Paul Rogers. “The No. 1 cause of wildfire is escaped debris burns. Having a clear understanding of expected weather conditions is critically important when planning any burn.”

Also, remember to be safe when you're around a bonfire, grilling over an open flame, or burning yard debris.

The DNR gives these tips to keep your fire under control:

  • Always keep a water source and metal shovel nearby.
  • Never leave a fire unattended, even for a minute.
  • Don’t burn on a windy day.
  • Completely put out your fire with water every time.

Finally, the DNR is reminding people that b urning trash, plastic, or electronics is illegal, even when open burning is permitted.