Michigan DNR update on Duck Lake Fire in Luce County, 8 p.m.
May 26, 2012
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today offered this update on the Duck Lake Fire in the Upper Peninsula's Luce County.
The fire is estimated at just over 21,000 acres in size. The south end of the fire is 14 miles north of Newberry and 7 miles west from Tahquamenon Falls State Park campgrounds. The fire is long and narrow and stretches 11 miles to the north to Lake Superior. The fire area includes 6 miles of Lake Superior shoreline and 29.5 miles of uncontained fire line. Access is very difficult with few roads.
Progress was made today securing portions of fire perimeter, especially along the northwest flank. The northwest flank from Lake Superior south to a point 1 ½ miles south of County Road 414 is declared secure (20 percent contained). Good progress was also made along the west and east flanks at the south end (heel) of the fire. The most fire activity again was along the northeast flank north of Pike Lake. On this section the two areas where the fire extended over County Road 500 are now contained. Structure protection is high priority along this flank and with air and ground support has been successful. The remaining fire lines in this area are currently holding. South of Pike Lake, the fire is well west of County Road 500. The entire fire contains areas that are actively burning and, with forecasted weather, likely will remain so. However, with more moderate temperatures and winds expected tomorrow, along with possible precipitation, progress is expected with line fortification and extension.
The evacuation order is still in effect for the area from Pike Lake east to County Road 500 and north to Little Lake Harbor. As was announced earlier this evening, all evacuees seeking information on the status of structures are asked to call the following numbers in order to register to be contacted when information is available:
UP Residents: Dial 211
Non- UP Residents: 1-800-338-1119
A number of structures have been damaged or lost and the Luce County Emergency Management Team, DNR conservation officers and firefighters continue to assess damage. Information on structures will be shared with property owners as it becomes available beginning Sunday.
Several road closures are still in effect. County Road 414 at the intersection with County Road 410 east, and County Road 500 from M-123 north to Little Lake Harbor remain closed. Please do not enter the area.
In addition, Tahquamenon Falls State Park continues to be closed, with campers directed to other facilities. Campground reservations will not be taken until May 31 at the earliest.
Crews will continue nighttime suppression efforts with three (3) VFD engines that will be patrolling and holding lines. A total of 229 firefighters are battling the blaze. The following individuals and equipment are involved in the firefighting effort:
- 3 Conservation Officers on duty around the clock.
- Volunteer fire departments: Bay Mills, Garfield Township, Columbus Township, Portage Township, Whitefish Township, Superior Township, Village of Newberry, Seney Township, Kinross Township
- 13 DNR fire engines, 10 volunteer fire department engines, 2 VFD fire department water tankers, 3 Wisconsin DNR engines.
- 12 Michigan DNR and 2 Wisconsin DNR bulldozers
- 1 US Fish & Wildlife Service helicopter
- 2 Minnesota DNR Air Tankers
- 4 Michigan National Guard helicopters and ground support
Cooperating agencies include the Michigan State Police, Luce County Sherriff's Department, Red Cross, Michigan State Police Emergency Management, Luce County Emergency Management, Michigan National Guard, Wisconsin DNR, Minnesota DNR, Chippewa Co. Sherriff Department, US Fish and Wildlife Service.
This evening, the US Weather service predicts the chance of rain at 70 percent, with a few showers early and then thundershowers overnight. The temperature is expected to hit a low of 54 degrees, with winds from the east at 5 to 10 miles per hour. On Sunday, look for variable clouds with showers and thundershowers (overall chance of rain at 70 percent), mainly in the morning. The high temperature is expected to be 73 degrees, with winds from the east/southeast at 10 to 20 miles per hour.
Although there have, fortunately, been no injuries to fire fighters to date, and no known injuries to private citizens, it is essential that the public realize and respect the extreme danger this fire poses and stay away from the fire and evacuation area. Roughly 20 percent of the fire area is contained.
On May 25, Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of disaster in the Luce and Schoolcraft counties. The declaration permits authorities to evacuate residents, and establishes a fireworks ban in the two affected counties and an outdoor burning ban in 49 counties:
Alcona, Alger, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Baraga, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Clare, Crawford, Delta, Dickinson, Emmet, Gladwin, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Iosco, Iron, Isabella, Kalkaska, Keweenaw, Lake, Leelanau, Luce, Mackinac, Manistee, Marquette, Mason, Mecosta, Menominee, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Ontonagon, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, Schoolcraft and Wexford.
The Michigan departments of Natural Resources, State Police and Transportation have deployed resources, equipment and personnel to the affected areas to help contain the wildfires, block roadways and coordinate response efforts in partnership with local and federal agencies.
The DNR strongly encourages all residents and visitors — statewide — to avoid open burning and use of any fireworks during this extremely high fire-danger season, in order to minimize the possibility of more wildfires. For wildfire prevention tips, information and home protection ideas, visit www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.
For more information on the Duck Lake Fire situation, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr (where you can sign up for wildfire incident updates via email) or follow www.twitter.com/michiganDNR, www.twitter.com/michiganDNR_UP or www.facebook.com/miDNR.