Red Flag Warning: Dry conditions, wind amplify fire risks around Michigan

Wind combined with dry conditions has created dangerous fire risks across Michigan.

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for some counties in the northern and western parts of the state Thursday. This means that critical fire weather conditions exist or will soon begin in these areas.

These counties and areas are under a Red Flag Warning until 8 p.m. Thursday:

Northern Michigan:

  • Alger
  • Central Chippewa
  • Delta
  • Eastern Mackinac
  • Luce
  • Mackinac Island, Bois Blanc Island
  • Marquette
  • Menominee
  • Northern Schoolcraft
  • Southeast Chippewa
  • Southern Schoolcraft
  • Western Chippewa
  • Western Mackinac

Western Michigan:

  • Clare
  • Lake
  • Mason
  • Newaygo
  • Oceana
  • Osceola

In the northern part of the state, winds are expected to be 10-20 mph with low humidity, while wind gusts in west Michigan are predicted to be 8-18 mph.

Though the Red Flag Warning was issued for only the counties listed above, much of the state's fire risk remains "extremely high" or "very high," meaning that you should be cautious doing activities that could spark a wildfire around Michigan.

Campfires, grills, all-terrain vehicles, and tools such as chainsaws should be used with caution. 

Last weekend, a campfire near Grayling caused a wildfire near Grayling. The weekend before that, a campfire started a wildfire in Wexford County.

Fire safety tips and burn information:

  • Contain your campfire or bonfire in a pit or ring and make sure you put it out thoroughly before leaving for the night. Douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again.
  • Never leave any fire — including hot coals — unattended.
  • Keep a hose or other water source nearby when burning.
  • Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging when you’re on the road; don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.
  • Never shoot fireworks into the woods, dry grass, or shrubs.
  • Do not burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam, or other household trash. It is illegal, and this can release dangerous chemicals into the air.
  • You can use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves, and natural materials.