Michigan Wildfire Season Underway

April 13, 2009

Wildfire season has arrived in Michigan, and authorities say the fires will quickly erase memories of an unusually wet Michigan winter.

Forest managers say Michigan’s highest wildfire risk is from mid-April through Memorial Day, a period that precedes spring greening of fields, forests and forest floors. The pre-greening grasses, twigs and leaves are called “one-hour fuels” because they can dry within an hour of rainfall. The risk can increase in sunshine or if winds pick up.

Specialists said that the greatest threat lies in stands of pine trees, where new needle growth draws moisture from existing needles. That creates a tinder box effect requiring only a spark to turn the trees into torches.

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