Several municipalities in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton Counties have issued "Open Burning Bans" this week until further notice, based on the fact that it’s a tinder box out there ('tinder box' my words, not an official statement).
With the extended lack of rain across the state, there is an "Extreme Fire Danger". The bans does not apply to grilling or cooking using charcoal, wood, propane or natural gas.
Looks like there's not a chance of rain until Saturday, which is only a 20 percent chance at this point. Here's the forecast from NOAA.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is even asking that we not use "all-terrain vehicles, lawn mowers or other outdoor machinery".
“The layer of decomposing leaves and grasses in the ground has dried out,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the DNR. “That means fires that do ignite will burn down into the soils layer, making it harder, and more time-consuming, to put the fire out.”
In very dry conditions, heat from even a lawn mower or the exhaust pipe of an all-terrain vehicle can ignite dry grass, Rogers said. Things like a trailer chain dragging on pavement also can create sparks.
The driest areas in the state currently extend from I-96 north to the Mackinac Bridge in the Lower Peninsula, and from M-35 east to Drummond Island in the Upper Peninsula. The dry area is expected to extend south to the I-94 corridor as the weekend approaches.
Yesterday, the DNR said that campfires are still allowed. However, "normal safety rules apply: keep water or sand on hand to put out the fire if needed, never leave a fire unattended and make sure to thoroughly extinguish all fires. "
For more information on burn permits and whether they are being issued, visit michigan.gov/burnpermit or call 866-922-2876.
Might be best to enjoy this virtual bonfire until we get some rain.