Cooler temperatures and steady rain since Friday afternoon and Saturday have aided fire crews in the Upper Peninsula’s Luce County in getting a better handle on the Duck Lake Fire. The Department of Natural Resources today reported the fire at 21,135 acres, with 71 percent containment.
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. There are currently 44 miles of fireline. Of that, 6 miles is Lake Superior shoreline, 23 miles is completed line (that includes County Road 500), and 15 miles is uncontained fireline. Access remains very difficult with few roads.
Fire crews made significant progress Friday, completing an additional 3 miles of fireline. Fireline has been constructed across all of Division G in the southeast corner of the fire, across roughly two-thirds of the east side of the fire, and roughly three-quarters of the fire’s west side. Saw crews continue to remove hazard trees.
Crews continue to monitor the lightning fire south of Bodi Lake.
The latest estimate on structure loss includes an additional three homes/cabins and three sheds/outbuildings. There are 138 properties within the perimeter of the fire; 138 sites have been inspected to this point, with one remaining that had no fire number. A total of 138 structures have been lost, with a breakdown as follows:
The evacuation order was lifted today at 9 a.m. for people with residences within the fire area (Pike Lake, Bodi Lake, Culhane Lake and Little Lake Harbor). The area will close again at 9 p.m. today for the overnight period, and will reopen at 9 a.m. Sunday. Residents entering the fire area are being asked to drive with their headlights on and to give emergency vehicles the right-of-way. Residents entering the fire area are required to drive to and from their property and not wander around the fire area. There are still snags and hazard trees that 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 fire area. The fire area remains closed to the public. While Crisp Point Lighthouse was outside of the fire area, it is still not accessible because of the closure of County Road 500.
A special note about area tourism and businesses: 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.
The Duck Lake Fire is in a remote area, is not currently putting up a smoke plume, is not affecting the surrounding areas and has not seen significant activity since Monday, May 28. While visitors are asked to avoid the immediate fire area, the rest of the U.P. stands ready to offer up Pure Michigan vacation memories.
Today’s Duck Lake Fire incident objectives are to:
Provide for public and firefighter safety.
Fell snags around homes and along roads.
Finish line construction toward division breaks.
Search for spot fires outside the line.
Identify hazard trees around structures and roads for saw crews.
Improve, where needed, the fireline that has been built.
Continue getting GPS data on completed line in all divisions.
For today, crews will use bulldozers to extend the fireline, while the Incident Management Team will focus on monitoring the fire. Crews and equipment will be staged in various locations around the fire.
Crews are unable to continue felling snags and hazard trees today; slippery conditions make this too dangerous.
Division supervisors and the overhead team will continue long-term planning today.
Rain is expected to continue through the day Saturday. Overnight rainfall on the fire was 0.1 to 0.5 inches. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 50s, with humidity around 80 percent today. Winds will be northwest at 5 to 16 miles per hour, with gusts of 20 to 30 miles per hour.
A total of 224 personnel (of which 47 are overhead personnel) are involved with fire suppression efforts. People, equipment and agencies fighting the fire include:
Four DNR conservation officers and a sergeant on duty around the clock.
15 DNR fire engines and 4 Wisconsin DNR fire engines
7 Michigan DNR and 2 Wisconsin DNR bulldozers
1 US Forest Service helicopter
4 Michigan National Guard aircraft and ground support.
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community hand crew
WIC #1 hand crew from Wisconsin
MIS #1 hand crew made up of Michigan DNR employees
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, American Red Cross, Salvation Army and UPCAP (211).
On May 25, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of disaster in 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.