Recent dry windy weather has increased the risk for grass fires across Livingston County.

Despite some recent rainfall, grassy areas are still dry and pose potential fire threat. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says conditions are conducive for fires to build quickly and rapidly and the National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for different parts of the state. So far this year, MDNR staffers have already fought 46 fires that burned nearly 360 acres. Locally, fire crews have also been responding to brush and grass fires this season. Residents are encouraged to take extra precautions to prevent accidental fires but also be mindful of local regulations and burn ordinances.

Brighton Fire Chief Mike O’Brian tells WHMI fires can take off relatively quickly so don’t under-estimate what wind and dry conditions can do. He says open burning is a very flexible thing whether permitted or not throughout communities. O’Brian asks that everyone be diligent and pay attention to conditions, as well as if burning has been banned in an area. He said it’s been amazing throughout the county some of the fires that have been happening – noting they were typically unattended or got out of hand because people didn’t realize how dry it is. Eventually conditions will change and it will be a little easier to burn but right now, he says people need to be on alert and cognizant of what’s going on when they’re burning. If burning is allowed, O’Brian suggests having a good cleaned out area to burn in and they typically recommend a pit. He says people need to keep supervising any fire, have a rake and water source nearby and don’t overload a fire that could spread into an adjacent area or land. If a fire is getting out of control, O’Brian says call 911. If it is going near a structure, he says make sure to alert people, get them out and stay out of the path of that fire. He says fires can take off relatively quickly so don’t under-estimate what wind and dry conditions can do, noting an attached garden hose can help in certain situation in trying to extinguish fires. (JM)