The multiple days of beautiful weather have kept beach-goers happy - but the hot, dry conditions have also moved our fire danger level up to high.
With hit and miss showers, most of northern Michigan has received less than a quarter inch of rain so far this month - and the high temperatures, low humidity, and gusty winds are prompting the fire danger upgrade.
Wednesday brought afternoon temperatures around 90 degrees, with winds gusting in the 20s. A cold front will move through heading into Thursday, bringing a brief cool-down into the 70s and 80s and scattered rain. However, winds will be gusting from the north at 10-30mph, and the rainfall expected isn't going to help much. Although even half an inch of rainfall will help the fire danger levels, we would need about one to two inches to get closer to normal for this month. Also, with the heat and dry conditions to return for the weekend - the DNR wants to remind everyone that while some fires are caused by natural elements (such as sparks from a car or lightning) they also want to remind everyone to use extra care while outdoors.
As of Wednesday, the DNR has all officers on stand by and is flying spotter planes in order to stay on top of any breakout fires.
"We're staffing up the offices a little bit, we're cutting back on open burning permits, asking people to be really cautious and judicious with open camp fires," stated DNR Fire Supervisor Rod Rader. "Try not to do any household waste burning until we get a change in the weather here."
While the Gaylord National Weather Service confirms it's not unusual for us to go two to five weeks without rain, we've also had such low humidity levels that the sandy soil we have across the area dries out. Many times northern Michigan catches up on rainfall in September.
The main issue to stress from fire officials - until our weather pattern changes and we receive some decent rainfall, take all of the proper precautions with campfires and properly dispose of all of the materials after checking the fire is out. Also make sure to check if burn permits are being issued. To keep track of what counties are allowing burn permits, click here.