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What Exactly Is A Red Flag Warning?

With the fire danger elevated this week, we decided to gather some helpful fire information.

Fire Danger Levels

Forest conditions are determined by the U.S. Forest Service/Michigan DNR sensors across the region. The levels are:

  • Low
  • Moderate
  • High
  • Very High
  • Extreme

Conditions can vary depending on where you are in Northern Michigan.

DNR Burn Permits

You need a permit to open burn rakings and brush piles.

This page is updated through the day by the DNR. It shows the counties where and when burn permits are available.


This permit is for yard rakings and brush ONLY. It does NOT relieve the responsible person(s) of liability for all damages resulting from the escape of the fire.

Here is a link to understanding Michigan’s Open Burning Laws and Rules.

Red Flag Warning

This is a weather conditions issued by the National Weather Service.


This is related to the weather conditions, not the forest conditions.

A red flag warning means critical fire weather conditions are occurring now or will shortly.

This is in reference to the combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures creating explosive fire growth potential.

A fire weather watch means critical fire weather conditions are possible.


Since the National Weather Service issues the red flag warnings, it’s possible that the fire danger is low, according to the Michigan DNR, but there is still a red flag warning. It’s rare but possible!

RELATED: See the latest forecasts on the 9&10 weather page

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