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Wildfire risk in northern Michigan is at ‘extreme levels'

Steven A. Miller
According to Michigan DNR fire specialist Jeff Vasher, 90% of wildfires are caused by humans, which is why people should not leave campfires unattended.

With 4th of July around the corner, people are getting outside, making campfires, and shooting off fireworks.

But state officials are urging people living or visiting Northern Michigan to exercise caution.

Jeff Vasher is a fire specialist with the Michigan DNR. He said fire season typically ends in the spring, but recent dry weather and high winds make for perfect conditions for wildfires.

“You can still have a fire for recreation," he said. "It's just like burning leaves and brush, if you can hold off to get rain, it's better to do that. We want people to have fun, you know, while they're out doing their recreation, but just be careful at the same time.”

Vasher said people should make sure campfires are fully out before leaving them unattended.

The DNR has more fire safety tips to reduce the risk of wildfires online.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corp Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She is covering rural environmental issues, public health and Michigan commerce. Homsi has a bachelor’s from Central Michigan University in environmental studies, journalism and anthropology. During her undergraduate, she was a beat reporter for CMU’s student newspaper Central Michigan Life and interned for the Huron Daily Tribune. She has also interned for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy in the superfund section. *Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms, more info at