The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today reported that – roughly three weeks after it started with a lightning strike in the eastern Upper Peninsula’s Luce County – the Duck Lake Fire is now 100 percent contained. Recent GPS data show the fire stands at 21,069 acres.
The south end of the fire is 14 miles north of Newberry and 7 miles west of Tahquamenon Falls State Park campgrounds. The lighting-strike caused fire, which was first detected on Thursday, May 24, is long and narrow and stretches 11 miles north to the Lake Superior shoreline. In all, fire crews constructed more than 42.6 miles of contained fireline.
DNR officials expect the on-scene incident commander will return to his home unit today, and the Duck Lake Fire incident team will go into “patrol” status, meaning the fire will be monitored daily with local equipment.
“Wildfire season is tough, no question. We continually prepare for this time of year, but also hope the need for firefighting resources will be low,” said Bill O’Neill, acting chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “With the Duck Lake Fire, that just wasn’t the case. Weather conditions helped turn this into an unpredictable, fast-growing fire. However, we’re grateful that we’ve achieved containment without loss of life or injury to any firefighters or citizens.”
O’Neill praised the many agencies and organizations that provided tremendous help in battling the blaze or supporting fire crews. These include the Michigan National Guard, Michigan State Police, Michigan State Police Emergency Management, Luce County Sheriff’s Department, Red Cross, Luce County Emergency Management, Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin DNR, Minnesota DNR, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Beartown and UPCAP (211).
In all, there were 141 properties within the perimeter of the fire. Of those, a total of 136 structures were lost (with a breakdown as follows):
49 homes/cabins (including a store and a motel)
A total of 57 personnel (of which 19 are overhead personnel) remain on the Duck Lake Fire. Today, crews plan to:
Grid for hot spots and mop up 200 feet inside the fireline;
Prepare for timber salvage; and
Assess ORV trails for damage and mitigation.
The DNR reported that although all roads in the fire area are now open to the public, the Two-Hearted ORV trail is closed indefinitely east of County Road 414 due to fire damage to trails and safety signs.
A special note about area tourism and businesses: The DNR reminds the public that the Tahquamenon Falls/Paradise Area is open for business. With 100-percent containment on the Duck Lake Fire, campgrounds, state parks, resorts and other businesses throughout the region and the Upper Peninsula are open and eager to welcome tourists. While visitors are asked to stay clear of ongoing fire-monitoring efforts, the rest of the U.P. stands ready to offer up Pure Michigan vacation memories.
The DNR strongly encourages all residents and visitors in all parts of the state to exercise caution with open burning and use of fireworks during this high fire-danger season to minimize the possibility of more wildfires. For wildfire prevention tips, visit www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.