Michigan's dry, windy conditions prompt worries of wildfires

The Detroit News

Dry and windy conditions in Michigan this week have state officials worried about possible wildfires.

The most vulnerable area stretches from southwest Michigan to the Mackinac Bridge, said the state Department of Natural Resources.

Also at risk is the area between southeast Michigan and the top of the Thumb, said the state agency.

"Conditions will be very conducive for fires to build quickly and rapidly," said Paul Rogers, a fire prevention specialist with the DNR.

The National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for southwest Michigan and the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula, said Rogers. The warnings will remain in effect until 8 p.m. Monday.

Southeast Michigan is expected to get some help in the form of showers predicted for overnight.

People living in the high risk areas should take precautions to prevent accidentally starting a blaze, said Rogers.

They should wait until later in the evening to burn yard debris, use all-terrain vehicles, lawn mowers or other outdoor machinery.

The heat from a lawn mower or exhaust pipe from an ATV could ignite dry grass, said Rogers.

He warned residents not to be misled by vegetation that appears green. Even green grass can be dry enough to burn, he said.

So far this year, DNR firefighters have fought 46 fires that burned 360 acres, said Rogers.