Seney Wildfire Update

A fire in the Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Schoolcraft County is threatening to burn across the refuge’s northern boundary onto state-managed land.

The last known size of the fire is 3,220 acres and containment is estimated at 65 percent at this time. Presently, there are no structures threatened by the fire. There have been no injuries or accidents related to this fire.

For more details, follow the Seney National Wildlife Refuge’s Facebook page at

The fire was caused by a lightning strike and has been burning actively day and night since Monday, May 21. The fire is a complicated incident burning in marsh and pine ridges. Access to the fire is severely restricted and fuels are volatile.

Today, May 24, in a unified command the federal fire management team consisting of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and Park Service personnel and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ fire management team will operate together in wild fire suppression efforts.

The federal team will concentrate on containing the fire inside the refuge. Their objectives are for the Marsh Master ground crews to improve line and hold the west flank, and use the air attack support to hold the east line and attempt to prevent the fire’s movement north toward the M-28 highway. The DNR’s team strategy will continue preparations to attempt to stop the forward progress of the fire by burning out the fuels ahead of the fire south of M-28.

As of 1 p.m., field staff reported that the air attack has thus far been effective near M-28. Although closure of M-28 is potentially imminent, the air attack is holding it off.

Federal resources dedicated to this fire are five Marsh Masters with 10 people, four wild land fire engines with 12 people, the Midewin hot shot crew from Illinois with 20 people, one type 1 helicopter and two CL-215 air tankers.

Seney Wildlife Refuge staff is also involved in support and fire line roles. The DNR is dedicating four tractor plows, six wild land fire engines, one Marsh Master, one skidder fitted to be a plow and water unit, and 31 people to the suppression effort. Assisting the state with the attack on the fire are the following volunteer fire departments: Tri County, Mathias, Rock River, Hiawatha, City of Manistique and Germfask.

Today, the weather forecast for high temperatures and strong winds will result in extreme fire behavior. Yesterday the DNR battled seven wildfires in the Upper Peninsula, three of which are contained but still burning. Because of the very high fire danger forecast for today, more fire starts are expected. Because fire-fighting resources are spread thin, the public is urged to be extremely cautious with anything that could possibly ignite a fire.

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