By Jessica Mathews /

Spring has sprung across Livingston County and the state but along with it - wildfire season and increased risk for grass fires.

Despite some recent rainfall, grassy areas are still dry and pose a potential fire threat, with conditions conducive for fires to build quickly and rapidly. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says even though there’s snow on the ground in parts of the state, some local fire departments have already started running wildland fires.

A press release states wildfire season generally begins in early spring, with the highest danger in spring and early summer. Risk then lessens somewhat as trees “green up” or bring sap up from their roots in summer.

During 2021, DNR firefighters battled fires on 2,379 acres and conducted prescribed burns on about 5,100 acres. Prescribed burns are carefully planned fires that mimic the effect of natural fire on the landscape that are used to improve habitat for wildlife and remove invasive species. Despite mud and snow, prescribed burns are likely to start this month.

The DNR says the spring danger of fire from natural or human causes is very real and even though the ground may be saturated with water, grasses that have been dormant through the winter are dried out and burn quickly. Last year was said to be one of the busier seasons for the MDNR with wildfires as it was really dry and they started really early. Officials say this year could pose similar challenges since there wasn’t a lot of snow and the vegetation from last year is still standing up in areas.

Those looking to burn yard waste are advised to contact their local fire department prior and check on the status of burn permits. Officials stress the weather should also be taken into account as a fire can escape very quickly under windy, dry and warm conditions.