Massive Michigan Wildfire 72% Contained

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June 4, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Smoke from the Duck Lake Fire in Michigan's Upper Peninsula drifts north toward Lake Superior (right). Photo courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Facebook.

Nearly an inch of rain fell Saturday in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, leading to improved conditions at the Duck Lake Fire in Luce County. The Department of Natural Resources reported the fire is 72 percent contained at 21,135 acres, the Escanaba Daily Press reported.

The south end of the fire is 14 miles north of Newberry and seven miles west of Tahquamenon Falls State Park campgrounds. The lighting-strike-caused fire, which was first detected May 24, is long and narrow and stretches 11 miles north to the Lake Superior shoreline.

There are currently 44 miles of fireline, including six miles of Lake Superior shoreline, 15 miles of uncontained fireline and 23 miles of completed fireline (which partly includes County Road 500). Access remains difficult for fire suppression crews, with few roads leading into the fire area.

Fireline supervisors worked on Saturday to identify access points and plan for the completion of the remaining uncontained sections of fire line. Fire crews continued to monitor the lightning fire south of Bodi Lake, and saw crews made significant progress removing hazard trees.

Property damage assessments have been completed at this time. There are 141 properties within the perimeter of the fire, and a total of 136 structures lost. They include: 49 homes/cabins (including a store and a motel), 23 garages, 38 sheds/outbuildings and 26 campers.

The evacuation order was lifted at 9 a.m. Saturday for people with residences in the Pike Lake, Bodi Lake, Culhane Lake and Little Lake Harbor areas. Access to these areas is available from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Residents entering the opened area are asked to drive with headlights on, and to give emergency vehicles the right-of-way. Residents are required to drive to and from their property only, and may not otherwise travel around the fire area. Snags and hazard trees remain in the area and can fall unexpectedly.

Road closures include County Road 414 east from the intersection with County Road 410, and County Road 500 from M-123 north to Little Lake Harbor, for everyone except residents with property in the reopened parts of the fire area. The fire area remains closed to the general public. While Crisp Point Lighthouse is outside of the fire area, it remains inaccessible due to the closure of County Road 500.

Road access to the mouth of the Two Hearted River remains closed. The Two Hearted River from the Reed and Green Campground and bridge to the mouth at Lake Superior should be avoided; the road closure prevents canoe/boat retrieval at the mouth. Additionally, the Two Hearted ORV Trail is closed east of County Road 414, due to safety concerns from falling snags and extensive trail erosion.

The DNR reminds the public that the Tahquamenon Falls/Paradise Area is open for business. As crews make good progress on the Duck Lake Fire in Luce County, campgrounds, state parks, resorts and other businesses throughout the region and the Upper Peninsula are open and eager to welcome tourists. The community of Paradise is ready for visitors. Tahquamenon Falls State Park was completely untouched by the fire; its Upper Falls viewing area and Lower Falls campground and visitor center are open.


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