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Michigan's wild fire season has begun

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Chris Boyer
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Even though Michigan is experiencing wet and muddy conditions, the wildland fire season is underway. Several fire departments in southern and northeastern Michigan have already made runs to put out fires.

Officials say right now, conditions for the season look normal, but as the snowpack melts and temperatures hit above 60 degrees, the risk heats up.

Paul Rogers is a fire prevention specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. He says the state uses federal systems to monitor draught levels. The DNR monitors some 20 million acres of forest land for wildfires.

“The northern Lower Peninsula was actually under drought conditions already," said Rogers. "And the Western UP we're starting to see it. And some more severe drought up towards the Minnesota area.”

Rogers says most wildfires are caused by humans.

If you want to burn debris, you need to obtain a permit from the DNR and monitor the wind and dryness levels for safe burning. This is one of the safest ways to prevent wildfires.

“Over 90% of our burns are from escape debris burns. People burning leaves, brush, things like that," said Rogers. "When we show up on a scene and after doing reports, they just [say], we never thought it would move that fast, we didn’t think it would escape.”

Rogers says the state provides resources to help make people aware of the latest wind and dryness conditions in their area.

In the interest of transparency, we note that the DNR is a financial supporter of WCMU.

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