Michigan authorities are warning of an increased wildfire risk in the northern part of the state because of below-normal snowfall.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources office in Cadillac says there was less-than-average snowfall last winter in the Upper Peninsula and the northern third of the Lower Peninsula.

Fire prevention specialist Paul Kollmeyer says the ground is becoming snow-free earlier this year and woodlands will have less moisture. He says spring is a peak period for wildfires in Michigan because of the exposure of dead vegetation.

Kollmeyer says Michiganians should be aware that they need a permit to burn brush. Northern residents can get permits online at http://www.michigan.gov/burnpermit or by calling 866-922-2876. Southern residents can contact local officials.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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