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Whitmer hopes for rain but expects “dry, hot summer ahead”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she's concerned "a hot, dry summer" will add to air quality woes in Michigan.
Rick Pluta
Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she's concerned "a hot, dry summer" will add to air quality woes in Michigan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday she’s hoping a forecast of rain will provide some respite from the risk of fire but expects much of Michigan could be in for some tough weeks ahead due to drifting smoke and continued danger of wildfires.

“This is going to be a very hot, dry summer is what all the projections are and that could make air quality a lot more challenging for us, as well as the potential for fires,” she said following an appearance in Saline.

The governor said she is conferring with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“We’ve got active conversations about what might make this safer for people,” she said. Obviously, these fires are coming from Canada. There’s nothing we can do about that, you know. I think we’re aiding their fire suppression activities, but we’ve obviously got a fire in Michigan as well that we’re still putting out.”

The wildfire near Grayling is contained, but there is still the risk of hot spots reigniting. The state’s fire danger advisory to local health, environment and emergency response agencies calls the hot and dry conditions “unprecedented” for this time of year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control saysexposure to smoke can be especially harmful for people with respiratory or heart conditions. An advisory from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy says people should avoid strenuous outdoor activity, especially people with lung or heart conditions, as well as younger children and teenagers.

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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