The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says that, for the first time since the Duck Lake Fire started in Luce County, the DNR has reported the fire area is more than 60 percent contained. More accurate GPS information has helped the department determine that fire area containment, as of this morning, stood at 63 percent.
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 45 miles of fireline. Of that, 6 miles is Lake Superior shoreline, 20 miles is completed line (that includes County Road 500), and uncontained fireline was reduced to 19 miles. Access remains very difficult with few roads.
Cooler temperatures allowed fire crews to construct fireline across all of Division G in the southeast corner of the fire, across roughly one-half of the east side of the fire and roughly two-thirds of the fire’s west side. Crews continue to remove hazard trees.
Governor Rick Snyder and Senator Debbie Stabenow visited the fire area on Thursday and talked with residents who lost structures in the fire. Both expressed their thanks to the firefighters for their efforts.
Detection aircraft identified a lightning fire from Monday’s thunderstorms south of Bodi Lake. National Guard helicopters made multiple drops on the fire and succeeded in knocking it down. Crews will check this fire today.
The latest estimate on structure loss is unchanged. 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. Assessments are ongoing to make sure there are no unknown sites that have not been visited. A total of 132 structures have been lost, with a breakdown as follows:
Landowners (including in-state and out-of-state residents) who have property located within the fireline should call 211 (Upper Peninsula residents) and 1-800-338-1119 (all others) to register their structure location and contact information. Officials do not have contact information for all properties within the fire perimeter, so it is very important that all landowners make contact. As the structure inventory and damage assessments are completed, the involved parties will be contacted and informed of the status of their property.
An evacuation order remains in effect for the area from Pike Lake east to County Road 500 and north to Little Lake Harbor. The DNR expects to make an announcement later today about when the evacuation order may be lifted for landowners.
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. 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.
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 Crisp Point Lighthouse is also outside the fire area.
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 towards division breaks.
Search for spot fires outside the line.
Identify hazard trees around structures and roads for saw crews
Continue getting GPS data on completed line in all divisions
Saw crews will work on felling hazard trees along the road between Pike Lake and Little Lake. Mop-up continues in all divisions.
Air operations will focus on structure protection and supporting fireline construction in the wet, inaccessible areas of the fire.
Warmer weather with mostly sunny skies and lower humidity is expected today. Temperatures will be in the mid-60s (cooler near the lake shore) and minimum humidity will be around 45 percent. Winds will be northeast to start the day, switching to the north and northwest through the afternoon. Winds will be 5 to 8 miles per hour with gusts of 10 to 14 miles per hour.
A total of 227 personnel (of which 49 are overhead personnel) are involved with fire suppression efforts. People, equipment and agencies fighting the fire include:
Four conservation officers and a sergeant are on duty around the clock
16 DNR fire engines and 4 Wisconsin DNR fire engines
8 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.