One year ago on May 8, the Meridian Boundary Fire consumed thousands of acres of jack pine forest in Crawford County. In the event of another massive fire, the Roscommon County Michigan Department of Natural Resources will again be prepared.
DNR Lt. Creig Grey said the DNR will be on “high alert” from May 9 to 11 as the area is seeing perfect conditions for a wildland fire.
“It’s really warm, hot and dry,” Grey said.
The reason for this hot, dry weather is due to a “Hudson Bay high.” Grey said the warm air is sweeping down from Canada into Michigan and is creating “erratic winds.” He explained when warm weather, dry land conditions and high winds combine there is a good chance for wildland fires.
The worst type of fire the DNR is preparing for is called a “crowning land fire,” Grey said. He said this type of fire is a fast moving fire that gets into the crown of trees and rapidly moves at a speed of about two miles per hour. He added this type of fire is dangerous as it is fueled by high wind conditions.
“They’ve (DNR enforcements) been responding to fires regularly,” Grey said.
He said so far there have been grass fires and small fires by Kalkaska and Clear Lake that were contained quickly. Grey said the DNR has been reviewing topographical maps and road maps to ensure that both the DNR and firefighters have up to date data on locations where a fire may start.
Grey added it is the DNR’s responsibility to know where residences are and the safest exit routes to get people in danger to safety. He added it is also the DNR’s responsibility to issue tickets.
“Right now there’s no burning permits being issued,” Grey said.
He said he has advised the conservation officers to “take names” of anyone who is found burning. He said most fires are caused by people and mixing home fires with the current weather conditions can be dangerous. He said burning permits will not be issued again until the weather has subsided and nature begins to green.
Grey said if anyone in the public sees a fire, the first step they should take is contacting 911 and then pay attention for others in the area who could have started the fire or may be in danger. He added wildland fire season usually starts the second week in April and will continue to the end of June.