SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH

Until 10 PM

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids and northern Indiana issues a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH for Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Berrien, Cass, St. Joe, and Branch counties until 10 PM.  Damaging wind gusts of 60 mph or greater are the primary concern.  Large hail of 1" in diameter or larger is a close second.  We'll be tracking storm development with Live Doppler Radar throughout your afternoon and evening.  Storm motion is easterly at 30 to 50 mph.  Stay with wwmt.com for the latest weather information!

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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Brush fire danger high in West Michigan

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Firefighters are warning that the danger of brush fires is high in West Michigan.

During the last week we've heard more than a dozen reports of brush fires in our area.

Many areas are in a high risk category right now, which is why firefighters are sending out a warning.

This is the aftermath of what firefighters tell us was brush fire in Paw Paw Wednesday and pictures show what it looked like as those flames spread across the area on County Road 653.

Firefighters tell us it spread quickly.

A fire danger map from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources shows the high risk right now.

From Muskegon County through Van Buren County at least 15 areas considered a "high" danger for fires.

Firefighters tell us many things can affect how quickly a fire gets out of control, including how far off the road it is and wind conditions.

"It will drive a fire quicker, faster, fuels it, so it can be a problem," said Asst. Chief Jim Wiley of the Oshtemo Township Fire Dept.

"Be careful burning. You might think it's okay, but it's dry out here," said Paw Paw Fire Chief Jim Degroff.

Firefighters say make sure you have a burn permit. If you get one that means conditions are okay.

Also have plenty of water around, and always keep an eye on your fire.