Updated property damage: Duck Lake Fire

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today provided an updated inventory of properties destroyed by the Upper Peninsula’s Duck Lake Fire, and offered concerned property owners information on how to view their structures in the fire area.

The most recent count puts the number of structures destroyed at 97. Those include:

34 homes/cabins

22 garages

22 sheds/outbuildings

17 campers

1 store

1 motel

The latest estimate is that there are 134 properties within the perimeter of the fire. Ninety-nine of those properties have been inspected. Inspections are ongoing, and the entire fire has not yet been inventoried. Of the 99 properties inspected, 39 properties have suffered losses, some with multiple structures.

Concerned property owners should phone 211 (Upper Peninsula residents) and 1-800-338-1119 (all others) to register their structure location and contact information. Owners will need to provide a fire number and road name As the structure inventory and damage assessment are completed, the involved parties will be contacted and informed of the status of their property. Property owners may also call these phone numbers to register to be escorted to view their property.

No escorted site visits will be allowed for 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.

On Sunday, Luce County Emergency Management provided landowner site visits for homeowners in the Pike Lake and Little Lake Harbor areas. Further site visits will depend on fire conditions and operations.

The most recent GPS data estimate the size of the fire at 22,204 acres. The fire made some runs Sunday, and additional GPS data became available that resulted in the upward revision of the fire size.

Monday’s incident objectives are to provide for public and firefighter safety, and structure protection. Crews will focus on mopping up and securing the west and south side of Pike Lake, and the entire east side of the fire. Structure protection is a priority in this area.

Fire crews patrolling the fire last night were able to prevent surface fire from encroaching on three structures.

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.

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.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park’s lower falls campground, upper falls viewing area, and visitor center have been closed due to smoke concerns. Please do not visit the park.

A total of 214 personnel — of which 45 are overhead personnel — are involved with fire suppression efforts. People, agencies and equipment involved include:

Four DNR conservation officers and one sergeant on duty around the clock.

Volunteer fire departments: Bay Mills, Garfield Township, Columbus Township, Portage Township, Whitefish Township, Superior Township, Village of Newberry, and Kinross Township.

16 DNR fire engines, 8 volunteer fire department engines, 2 VFD fire department water tankers, 3 Wisconsin DNR engines.

11 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, 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.

It is essential that the public realize and respect the extreme danger this fire poses especially to 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 for information on what is and is not permissible under the outdoor burning ban, visit www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.