Michigan’s Blue Lakes Fire now 60% contained; damage estimated at 2,710 acres
CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (WILX) - A wildfire in Montmorency and Cheboygan counties is about 60 percent contained, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The fire was reported on Friday about 12:40 p.m. That afternoon, a DNR conservation officer escorted a group of kayakers on the Black River within the fire area to safety.
DNR fire crews and local partners worked Sunday to connect remaining containment line gaps in wet, low-lying areas. The Blue Lakes Fire is currently estimated to have spread through 2,710 acres.
An estimate on Saturday had the fire effecting a smaller area, but has been updated based on more accurate GPS measurement of the area. Crews were dealing with the risk of lightning Saturday, getting pulled off fire lines temporarily in the afternoon due to danger weather conditions presented.
Unfortunately, the rain clouds didn’t add much to the firefighting efforts.
DNR spokesman Tim Webb said, “Although northeast Michigan had widespread rain Saturday afternoon, little fell in the fire area.”
The cause of the fire has been determined. According to Webb, it bean due to a lightning strike from a May 11 thunderstorm.
“It’s not uncommon for a lightning strike to smolder for several days until surface fuels dry out enough to ignite and allow the fire to spread,” Webb said.
Fire activity is expected to be lower Sunday due to more favorable weather conditions and ongoing mop-up efforts.
Numerous roads in the area remain closed.
Those assisting DNR fire crews Sunday include the Onaway, Tri-Township, Hillman and Lewiston fire departments; the Montmorency County Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Management and the Michigan State Police.
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