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‘Very high’ fire risk for dozens of Michigan counties: What that means

Dozens of Michigan counties are at elevated fire risk Thursday due to hot, dry conditions.

A Red Flag Warning was not officially issued, but the National Forest Service listed nearly all of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula at “very high” fire risk Thursday.

“When fire danger is “very high,” fires will start easily from most causes. Fires will spread rapidly and rapidly increase in intensity immediately upon ignition. Small fires can quickly become large fires and exhibit extreme intensity, such as long-range detection and fire whirls. These fires can be difficult to control and will often grow into much larger, longer-lasting fires,” NFS states.

Some guidelines if you are in one of the areas:

  • If burning is allowed in your area, all burn barrels must be covered with a weighted metal cover, with holes measuring no larger than 3/4 inch.

  • Do not throw cigarettes or matches from a moving vehicle. They can ignite dry grass on the side of the road and turn into a forest fire.

  • Extinguish all outdoor fires properly. Smother the heat with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cool to the touch. Soak charcoal in water until cold. Do not throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it.

  • Never leave a fire unattended. Sparks or embers can fly into leaves or grass, start a fire and spread quickly.

A red flag warning (RFW) is a term that has been used since the 1960s by fire weather forecasters at the National Weather Service (NWS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to alert forecast users. about an ongoing or imminent critical fire weather pattern.

Related: When fire devastated Michigan’s Thumb region: ‘A demon in the gale’

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