Dry conditions make for 'active' fire day in W. Mich.
Updated: Thursday, April 4 2013, 07:11 PM EDT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Today is the most "active" fire day in the next seven, according to the National Weather Service.
But despite West Michigan being covered in dry brush, Allegan Fire Chief Bruce Hoyer says calls for brush fires are down. He says people are getting smarter.
"The forest is dry, the fields are dry," Hoyer said. "The time is not right to burn."
Hoyer says many people have been calling and asking if it is okay to burn--and overall using common sense. But his team is prepared for the worst.
"We've been in preparation, preparing our equipment to go out and take care of these problems should they arise," he said. "Most of our problems happen from burn barrels or people cleaning their yard, which they'll start to do this time of year."
Mark Walton of the National Weather Service says West Michigan, especially Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, was two to eight inches behind in rainfall last year.
"January and February we actually had above normal precipitation, but it's not enough to really catch up for that big lag," said Walton, a hydrologist, about this year's patterns. "March was more normal, but April so far has been dry."
That's why experts agree: hold off on burning at least until we get some rain.
"As we go on to this week and next week, precipitation is coming into the area so we're going to get a little warmer temperatures, but also higher humidity, so it'll reduce the fire threat," Walton said.
We also spoke with the Thornapple Township fire chief, who says he and his counterparts throughout Barry County have already been battling brush fires.
He says he'll likely issue a burn ban for his area tomorrow.