The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and partner agencies on Sunday hosted a public meeting for property owners affected by the ongoing Duck Lake Fire in the Upper Peninsula’s Luce County. Over 200 people attended. To update tge public on the situation, the DNR released the following press release:
Property damage assessments have now been completed for the Pike Lake and Little Lake Harbor areas, and are ongoing on the rest of the fire. So far, 80 structures – homes, cabins, garages, outbuilding and sheds – have been confirmed destroyed by the fire, with some 100 properties inventoried for damage. The Rainbow Lodge at the mouth of the Two Hearted River has sustained heavy damage.
On Sunday Luce County Emergency Management provided tours for homeowners in the Pike Lake and Little Lake Harbor areas. This was an opportunity to quickly visit their homes to see the status for themselves. Road closures remain in effect for the general public.
Those who own property in the fire zone should phone 211 (Upper Peninsula residents) and 1-800-338-1119 (all others) to register their structure location and contact information. As the structure inventory and damage assessment are completed, the involved parties will be contacted and informed of the status of their property.
The most recent GPS data put the current size of the Duck Lake Fire at 22,204 acres. Forty-eight percent of the fire is contained.
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 40 miles of fire line. Of that fire line, 6 miles is Lake Superior shoreline, 13 miles is completed line (includes County Road 500), and 21 miles is uncontained fire line. Access is very difficult with few roads.
Progress was made Sunday in securing portions of the fire perimeter, especially along the northwest flank from Lake Superior south to County Road 414 and at the south end of the fire. North of Pike Lake the fire has extended east to County Road 500, with the fire crossing the road in one location. Fire lines in this area are currently holding.
South of Pike Lake the fire is well west of County Road 500. Air water drops have knocked down hot spots from Little Lake Harbor south to Culhane Lake. Structure protection is high priority and is being closely monitored from the air. The entire east side of the fire, from Little Lake Harbor south, is active and with expected westerly/northwesterly winds, extreme fire conditions persist. Flame lengths within the fire perimeter are still 10 feet to 15 feet. Potential for blow-up conditions continue.
Sunday night, three VFD fire engines are patrolling the east side of the fire to provide structure protection and patrol the fire line. Conservation officers will also be patrolling the area. Tonight’s incident objectives are to provide for public and firefighter safety and to provide for structure protection
An evacuation order is in effect for the area from Pike Lake east to County Road 500 and north to Little Lake Harbor. Residents are advised to be vigilant and evacuate. 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.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park’s lower falls campground, upper falls viewing area, and visitor center remain closed due to smoke concerns. Please do not visit the park.
A total of 229 personnel (of which 40 are overhead personnel) are involved with fire suppression efforts. Agencies and equipment on the fire include:
• Three DNR 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, and 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 aircraft 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 County Sheriff Department, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Forecasted rainfall did not materialize today on the fire. Tonight, temperatures are expected to drop to 55, with maximum humidity of 86 percent. Scattered thunderstorms are possible, and gusty and erratic winds are expected near any thunderstorms. Rainfall of less than 0.1 inch is expected.
It is essential that the public realize and respect the extreme danger this fire poses to especially areas east of the entire 10 mile long east flank.
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 Red Cross has been inundated with donations of food, clothes, Gatorade, and water for both the evacuees and fire staff. The firefighters would especially like to thank all of the Tahquamenon Area Girl Scout Troops for donating $300 from their newspaper and magazine recycling project to provide snacks and goodies for the fire staff while they are out on the fire line. A special thanks also to Snyder Drugs for working with the troops to provide the snacks to the firefighters.
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 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 information about 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.