Firewise resources help prepare Michigan residents for spring wildfire season

Michigan residents urged to prepare themselves for the spring wildfire season as most Michigan wildfires occur from March to May.

Though wildfires in Michigan can and do occur throughout the spring, summer and fall, the majority take place during March, April and May. During these months, much of the existing vegetation is dead, brown and combustible, having been killed due to low winter temperatures. There is little green vegetation in early spring to serve as a barrier for a moving wildfire. Also, residents raking leaves and collecting yard waste that has accumulated over the winter months often elect to burn their yard waste.

Mistakenly believing the ground to be moist after the winter snow cover, many people are unprepared when their burning of yard waste quickly spreads and becomes a wildfire. Those who do choose to burn should always have a cell phone, garden tools and water hose nearby. The fire should never be left unattended and thoroughly put out with water once the burning of yard waste is complete.

Three educational bulletins are available in the Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Bookstore to assist residents in learning more about wildfire behavior, how to protect their home from wildfire, and what wildfire-resistant landscape plants are suitable for Michigan climates.

Protect Your Michigan Home From Wildfire, E2831, was co-authored by Don Johnson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), and Georgia Peterson, MSU Extension. Also available in Spanish.

Understanding Wildfire Behavior In Michigan, E2882, was co-authored by Don Johnson, MDNR, and Mark Hansen, MSU Extension. Also available in Spanish.

Wildfire-Resistant Landscape Plants For Michigan, E2948, was co-authored by Mark Hansen, MSU Extension, R. Thomas Fernandez, MSU Department of Horticulture, and Michael Penskar, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, MSU.

The bulletins are available online at www.firewise.msu.edu or may be ordered from the MSU Extension bookstore www.bookstore.msue.msu.edu.

Those desiring more information about the Michigan Firewise Communities Project or additional educational printed materials may contact one of the MSU Extension staff listed on the Firewise website. 

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