We've always been told "only you can prevent wildfires" and now the Michigan DNR is reminding us as the weather warms up and bonfire season approaches.

Michigan's 2021 Drought

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, data shows Michigan is seeing some drought lately with parts of the U.P., the tip of the Mitten, and the lowest edge of the state in "D0: Abnormally Dry" conditions while the rest of the state is experiencing "D1: Moderate Drought."

"This drought comes after one of our driest stretches of weather in 16 years," Grand Rapids' WZZM 13 reported on May 3rd. "After crunching some numbers it was found that the months of March and April had the lowest rainfall totals since 2005, ranking in the top five for driest March and April rainfall totals.

In D0 drought, according to the Drought Monitor, "historically observed impacts" include brown lawns and increases in grass fires while in D1 drought impacts include stressed crops and vegetation as well as decreased "well levels."

Drought Also Increases Fire Dangers

We've already seen one controlled burn up in the Huron National Forest turn into a wildfire in April, now the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is warning people to be cautious.

According to MLive, fire prevention specialist with the Forest Resources Division of the Michigan DNR, Paul Rogers said even though things look lush and green, forest and grassy areas are still very dry which could cause fires to get out of control very quickly.

Even the most well-intended of fires, your average bonfire, your brush piles, etc., could pose a threat of escaping and spreading like...well, like wildfire. This is especially the case if you have "dry fuels" which MLive says are things like downed branches, dry grass and brush.

DNR Suggestions For Fire Safety

Luckily, they aren't just holding our feet to the flames or telling us we can't burn anything, we just have to be smart about it!

It's bonfire season, everyone will be out grilling soon, getting outdoors more, so MLive shares some tips from the DNR include things like never leaving fires unattended, keeping water nearby, and double-dousing the fire with water when you are finished.

CLICK HERE for more information on ORV fire prevention as well as obtaining burn permits.

While these things do seem like common sense to many of us, Smokey Bear has been telling us these things for years and wildfires still happen so there's probably still some people out there who need reminders!

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