The Michigan Department of Natural Resources issued this update on the Duck Lake Fire in the Upper Peninsula’s Luce County.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which had been closed due to danger posed by the fire, will reopen Wednesday. The Upper Falls Viewing Area, Lower Falls Campground, and Visitor Center will open to the public. The hiking trails north of M-123, including the North Country Trail, will remain closed.
The fire is now estimated to be 21,450 acres in size. The fire made some runs yesterday, and additional GPS data became available that resulted in the upward revision of the fire size. The fire is 55 percent contained.
As of Tuesday afternoon, all of the landowners for whom we have contact information and whose structures have been assessed have been contacted. The DNR expects to complete the structure assessment Wednesday.
Landowners who have structures within the fire perimeter and who have not contacted us are urged to call either 211 (Upper Peninsula residents) and 1-800-338-1119 (all others). Please have your fire number and road name when you call. Landowners who have property located within the fire line may call the same numbers in order to register to be escorted back in to view their properties.
There will not be any escorted site visits to individuals who do not own property within the fire line. The highest priority will be given to the individuals who own permanent residences within the fire line. Site visits will depend upon fire conditions and operations at the time.
The latest estimate is that there are 134 properties within the perimeter of the fire. Ninety-nine properties have been inspected. Inspections are ongoing, and the entire fire area has not been inventoried. Of the 99 properties inspected, 39 properties have suffered losses. On the 39 properties that suffered losses – some with multiple structures — 97 structures were destroyed. The structure losses breakdown as follows:
An evacuation order remains in effect for the area from Pike Lake east to County Road 500 and north to Little Lake Harbor. County Road 414 east from the intersection with County Road 410, and County Road 500 from M-123 north to Little Lake Harbor are closed. Please do not enter the area. The fire area and surrounding roads are also closed to ORV traffic.
All road closures remain in effect until further notice. No road reopening schedule has been determined due to ongoing fire issues and aircraft suppression efforts.
A total of 237 personnel – including 56 overhead personnel — are involved with fire suppression efforts. People, equipment and agencies fighting the fire include:
Four DNR conservation officers and a sergeant are on duty around the clock.
Volunteer fire departments: Bay Mills, Germfask Township, Hendricks Township, Burt Township, Whitefish Township, Superior Township, Village of Newberry, and Kinross Township.
18 DNR fire engines, 10 volunteer fire department engines, 1 VFD fire department water tanker, 3 Wisconsin DNR engines.
10 Michigan DNR and 2 Wisconsin DNR bulldozers
1 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helicopter
2 Minnesota DNR air tankers
4 Michigan National Guard aircraft and ground support.
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Hand Crew
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 County Sheriff Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Red Cross and Salvation Army.
A special note of thanks: The Duck Lake Fire staff and DNR would like to express their gratitude for the outpouring of support from Newberry, Luce County and the entire region. The numerous citizens lining the streets of Newberry to welcome the fire crews back after a long, hard day of fighting fire on the lines is very much appreciated.
The Bay Mills Indian Community donated a fish fry dinner with all the trimmings to the fire crews last night, and it was a huge hit. The community did a similar fish fry for the firefighters during the Sleeper Lake Fire in 2007, and all of the firefighters were hoping they would put on another one for this fire. The Duck Lake Fire Help Center has been providing snacks, clothing, and toiletry items to the firefighters out of the Youth Center across from the IGA Store in Newberry.
On May 25, Gov. 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 DNR strongly encourages all residents and visitors in all parts of the state to avoid open burning and use of any fireworks during this extremely high fire-danger season to minimize the possibility of more wildfires. For wildfire prevention tips, and for information on what is and is not permissible under the outdoor burning ban, 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 text message) or follow www.twitter.com/michiganDNR, www.twitter.com/michiganDNR_UP or www.facebook.com/miDNR.