Two Year Anniversary of Michigan's Massive Duck Lake Wildfire

Photo taken from near the fire line while I was a reporter.
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The Duck Lake Wildfire was the third largest wildfire in Michigan history.

Two years ago on May 24, 2012, Upper Michigan residents were shocked to learn of a massive wildfire that practically exploded overnight in northern Luce County, north of Newberry. A lightning strike ignited the fire in the dry forests. That area of the county is lightly populated, but popular campgrounds were endangered. Residents were evacuated and no one was injured or killed, but dozens of structures were lost as so many people were looking forward to normal Memorial Day weekend plans.

One of the biggest losses was the Rainbow Lodge at the Mouth of the Two Hearted River, an area made famous by author Ernest Hemingway. The Rainbow Lodge is still rebuilding and now reports that they have cabins available for rent.

The fire burned for weeks before it was fully contained on June 15.

The Department of Natural Resources reports the fire burned a total of 21,069 acres and destroyed 136 structures including 49 cabins and homes.

My first job was as a weekday reporter and weekend meteorologist at WLUC in Marquette in the Upper Peninsula. I was already covering the Seney National Wildlife Refuge Wildfire the day before when we learned of the new Duck Lake Wildfire. I was the first reporter on the scene and got to witness the intense fire from near the fire lines. A DNR representative escorted me into the charred wilderness and I got my first taste of hard news. It was a story we followed for weeks, but you can see what it was like on the first day of the fire by clicking on the news story link. Another story is attached where I interviewed the Robinsons from the Rainbow Lodge one year later. The attached photo is one that I took from near the fire line.

More info is also available on this historic fire from the DNR on the right.

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