Over 8000 wildfires in Michigan each year
Michigan residents will be surprised to learn that over 8,000 wildfires occur each year in Michigan and that most of them happen in the spring.
April 18, 2011 - Author: Mark Hansen, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Forestry
Most people I talk to have no idea there are so many wildfires in the state. Most people think we have only a handful each year. While many of our wildfires are smaller fires – 50 acres or less – they still damage and destroy homes and other structures.
The reason spring is the biggest wildfire season in Michigan relates to the dead vegetation that remains after the snow melts. Homeowners are out raking and burning, and the fire simply gets away from them. Here are some tips to keep open fires under control:
- Keep the burn pile away from dead vegetation such as a field behind the house.
- Keep a shovel and garden hose near by.
- Always stay with the fire until it’s dead out – that’s the law anyway.
- Always obtain a burning permit – another law in Michigan when the ground is not snow covered.
- Be aware that even though the ground may be wet in the spring, dead can dry out quickly and ignite if exposed to fire.
Ninety to 95 percent of Michigan wildfires are caused by humans and they occur all over the state, not just in northern Michigan. By being careful, whether it is burning debris, playing with fireworks, or having a campfire, we can reduce the number of fires in Michigan.
Also remember that April 17-23 is Wildfire Prevention Week in Michigan.
The Firewise Communities program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving community members with protecting people and property from the risk of fire. The program is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and the National Fire Protection Association.
The program is part of the state’s Michigan Firewise Communities Project, and was funded through the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service grant.