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State officials have expressed concern, saying much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is at high risk of wildfires due to the recent dry and windy weather.

According to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the areas of highest concern run from southwestern Michigan to the top of the northern Lower Peninsula.

Between southeastern Michigan and the top of the “Thumb” area, the danger level has also been elevated.

State authorities say the main cause of wildfires, comprising 47% of cases, is burning yard debris. This includes grass clippings, leaves and trash. Spring is peak wildfire season when days are dry and windy with plenty of dead vegetation left after the snow melts.

Prevention specialist Paul Rogers advises waiting until late in the evening to burn yard debris or use tools and machinery that can ignite dry vegetation.

Due to winds and the dry air, spring is peak wildfire season for Michigan. In this file photo, a Michigan Army National Guard helicopter scoops water from a lake to be used against a wildfire near Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

Residents can also find information whether it’s safe to light fires in an area by checking online to get their burn permit.

If you’re in an area in Michigan that is prone to wildfires, here are some suggestions from the state government to ensure your safety:

  • Keep an emergency kit ready in case of an evacuation.
  • Develop a fire escape plan and practice it regularly with members of your family.
  • Keep fire extinguishers, ladders and lengths of hose handy at home.
  • Install smoke detectors and test them regularly. Remember to replace the batteries as indicated.
  • Have reliable communications devices mobile phones or two-way radios, along with extra batteries or charged powerbanks, and keep local numbers for reporting fires handy.

For more information on how to survive wildfires, check out American Survival Guide’s article: Scorched Earth.