Because of our late spring, wildfire season is now just beginning here in the Upper Peninsula. And that means fire dangers may arise.
Wildfires in the state of Michigan are widely underestimated in regard to number and losses, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR estimates 8,000 to 10,000 wildfires occur each year in Michigan. Most wildfires are small and only burn between five and fifty acres, but some can burn up thousands of acres and may destroy homes and buildings.
"We find that in the spring of the year, you've got all the fine fuels. The grasses and light brush will actually burn a lot faster and easier. They dry out fast," said Celeste Chingwa, U.P. Resource Protection Manager for the Michigan DNR.
Your own lawn may be green right now, but the woods definitely aren't. There is plenty of dry debris on the ground, and it makes for perfect kindling for a wildfire.
For a wildfire to occur, there are three prominent factors that contribute: high winds, high temperatures, and low humidity.
"Every year we respond to fires where somebody's been burning debris or had a campfire and left it and had not fully extinguished it, and this causes a fire, and the campfire could be from several days beforehand," said Bryce Avery, a Michigan DNR Fire Specialist.
And the fire forecast for this weekend looks to be high in terms of wildfire danger. Even though temperatures will be low, there will be very high winds and low humidity, two of the three factors that play into the birth of a wildfire.
If you would like to learn more about wildfires and the burning restrictions for your area, click here.