91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Restrictions on outdoor fires being put in place to avoid more wildfires

 Most of Michigan has been dry and the risk of wildfires is high. This sign in the Upper Peninsula is one of several throughout the state with the same message.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Most of Michigan has been dry and the risk of wildfires is high.

The Wilderness Trail fire near Grayling is about 90% contained and a smaller wildfire in Iosco County is under control.

The U.S. Forest Service provided planes to help fight the Wilderness Trail fire. Also a Michigan State Police helicopter had a bucket, dropping water on the fire. Wisconsin firefighters also worked to control the wildfire.

Most of the state of Michigan is in very high fire danger, chiefly because there’s been so little rain lately.

“It’s been very dry since very early May. And those levels are a bit unprecedented for us this time of year,” said Kerry Heckman with the Forest Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources.

Currently, there are some burn restrictions in place. The DNR is not issuing any burn permits for burning yard waste or other debris.

While the Wilderness Trail fire began because of a campfire, that’s not the most common way wildfires start.

“The number one cause of wildfires in Michigan -of human caused wildfires- is debris burning,” Heckman said.

The DNR is putting staff in key locations around the state so that if a fire does occur, they're able to respond quickly.

Several cities around the state have burn bans in place for open fires and campfire burning in backyards.

If it remains dry, chances are there will be further municipal or state bans on any kind of outdoor fire hazard, including fireworks.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
Related Content