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      Gusty winds and high temps drive fire danger higher

      While much of Northern Michigan has been basking in our record setting temperatures, they do come at a cost. Firefighters are warning all of us that the fire danger is on the rise. While most springs provide the perfect recipe for a wildfire, this year is proving to be exceptional.

      With temperatures topping 80 degrees, and winds gusty, any moisture that may have been in the ground over the winter is quickly evaporating. Couple that with the fact that many homeowners are looking for ways to get rid of downed trees and branches from this month's heavy snowstorm, and the potential for a burn to get our of control skyrockets.

      Captain Troy Holliday with the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department says it doesn't take much for a controlled burn to get out of control on a day like this. Captain Holliday says there are some things that every homeowner who lights a fire, be it a blaze to get rid of debris or even a campfire, should have on hand. He says "keep the piles small, keep a garden hose handy, buckets of water, and always been in attendence. Don't leave a fire unattended because they do spread rapidly when the wind picks up."

      Another point that Holliday makes is to be vigilant about making sure your fire is out. He stresses that even covering a burn pile of ashes with soil and water may not be enough to keep embers from reigniting. His advice is be extremely careful even when you think you are done burning because your fire may not be completely out.

      Burn permits are being issued at some locations in Northern Michigan. Check with your local DNR field office and township to make sure it is a day when you can burn.