Michigan wildfire season may be delayed by March snowfall

Snowfall in March delays exposure of dry grasses, which reduces the risk of early spring wildfires in Michigan.

Mid-March is typically the start of wildfire season in Michigan, but recent heavy snowfall in March will cause a delay. As the snow melts, exposing dry grasses and other vegetation left from last fall, the chance for wildfires increases. Many may think that it is the hot summer days that are best suited for wildfires, but it is actually the unique conditions of springtime that is most susceptible to wildfire ignition.

It is estimated that there are between 8,000 and 10,000 wildfires annually in Michigan. Most of these are small and burn between five and 50 acres. Larger fires can consume thousands of acres and destroy hundreds of homes annually. Michigan’s most active time for wildfires is in the spring. Protect your home and property from wildfires by creating a defensible space around your dwelling and other outbuildings. Steps to take to help create a defensible space from wildfires:

  • Trim trees six to eight feet from the ground
  • Clean up tree litter from around landscaping and neighboring trees
  • Don’t burn yard waste, compost instead
  • Keep your grass mowed to about four inches high
  • Clean your gutters of leaves twigs and other fallen debris

Michigan State University Extension educators working across Michigan provide Wildfire and Firewise educational programming and assistance. For more information, you can contact an educator through MSU Extension’s “Find an Expert” search tool using the keywords “wildfire or firewise.”

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