TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Because of the lack of rain in Michigan and also sporadic windy conditions, federal and state agencies are warning about an extreme fire danger in the entire state. The U.S. Forest Service has an interactive map which shows much of the state under extreme fire danger in both the lower and upper peninsulas. Additionally, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is also sounding the alarm on the fire danger in the state, including the danger in West Michigan which has seen less than a tenth of an inch of rain in the past month.

MORE NEWS: Legislators Seek Clarification Regarding Road Condition Lawsuit Filings

Kerry Heckman, the public information officer for the Michigan DNR’s incident management team says, “We want to make sure that people understand that it is a very dangerous situation right now when it comes to fire in Michigan and to use extreme caution.”

Over the weekend, there were several fires in northern lower Michigan, both big and small. The city of Grayling in Crawford county saw a wildfire that started out on more than 3,000 acres and is now reported to be 90% contained. A view from the MSP Aviation Unit helicopter while fighting the fire can be seen on their Twitter feed here.

According to the Detroit News, there was also a forest fire in Iosco county which was approximately 250 to 300 acres. The fire was contained on Saturday night but the area continued to be monitored afterward.

Are grocery prices impacting your spending habits?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center on Saturday to coordinate an “all-hands-on-deck response to the wildfires in northern Michigan.” She said, “By taking this action, we can ensure state and local first responders have what they need to get this fire contained and prevent loss of life or property. I want to thank the first responders who have been working to keep Michiganders safe.”

Debra-Ann Brabazon, the public affairs officer for Huron-Mainstee National Forests says, “When we have extreme fire danger, that means that fire not only is going to start easily but it is going to grow and have active behavior very quickly.” She added, “We’re in pretty unprecedented conditions for this time of year as far as it relates to extreme fire danger. It takes very little right now for anything to become a significant wildfire.”

It’s because of that quickness of a small fire becoming a large wildfire that Michiganders need to be ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice. Like many of you, I hadn’t really thought much about the fire warnings since I don’t intend to burn anything and I expect my neighbors to heed the red flag warnings and not start any fires in our rural area that has a lot of dried grass, brush and crops.

MORE NEWS: Suspended Union High School Football Coach Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ for Drunk Driving

But on Sunday, even in own county of Grand Traverse saw a few fires erupt both in Garfield and Green Lake townships. My husband came home a little after 9:00 p.m. and asked what was going on down our street and about a block away. He had passed police cars and two fire engines at an intersection close to where we live. I checked my local 911 Facebook page and saw that they had posted about several units arriving at a 30 ft x 30 ft wildfire, asking everyone headed that way to slow down and use caution for the safety of everyone on scene.

Knowing how fast fires get out of control, I started packing bags – I grabbed medication, a two-day change of clothes, toiletries, cat food, dog food, pet crates, a few photo albums – and if we were really leaving, I would also be taking my computer as well which holds all of my business information on it.

My husband, who thought I was overreacting, drove down the road to check things out and found that our local fire department had everything under control and that the remaining fire engine on the scene was taking care of the last of the fire. It turned out to be a campfire that got out of controljust like the fire in Grayling, which was started by a campfire on private property. Regardless of the warnings, people are still burning even after being warned not to – and that’s not a good thing.

Luckily, in our case, the nearby fire was taken care of quickly but it got me to thinking that I should have a wildfire emergency evacuation checklist written up so that I’m not scrambling around in a real emergency. It’s really no different than having other types of lists of things to grab and evacuation kits that are needed in hurricanes and other emergencies. Planning ahead means that you can pack up what you can ahead of time and have a list of everything you need to take with you in an emergency.

Everyone will have a different list of things they want (or need) to take with them – but it’s better to plan ahead now than to wait for the emergency to arise. I would recommend walking around your house, room to room, and jotting down a list of what you need for a possible 1-2 day evacuation (medications, pet food, phones, purse, wallet, eyeglasses, important documents, etc.) and also what you want to take if you have the time – items that you want to keep safe in case the fire reaches your home – photos, old videos, keepsakes, etc. It’s also a good idea to organize all of your important documents so that they are in one place and easy to grab.

There is a “Build Your Own Go-Kit” at the Project Wildfire website that lists the five P’s to think about: people, pets, pills, papers and photos. On their list are many good items to put in your kit and on your list – and there are many other websites with good ideas for emergency kits as well.

The important thing is that you take the time to be prepared and get ready to act if an emergency comes your way.