Over 2,200 acres burned in the fire. Click On Detroit / Twitter
A wildfire in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has prompted evacuations of 13 individuals in a local hunting camp. The fire, which was first reported on Friday, is estimated to have burned roughly 2,200 acres as of Monday morning. Turkey season in the U.P. runs until May 31.
Officials estimate the Blue Lakes Fire was started last Wednesday due to a lightning strike from recent storms in the region. The fire is currently 75 percent contained, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The wildfire is burning in two counties in Michigan’s lower peninsula—Cheboygan and Montmorency counties.
“We are grateful to report no life-threatening injuries and no serious property damage, as everyone on the scene gives their best effort to suppress this fire,” said DNR public information officer Kerry Heckman.
Thirteen individuals were evacuated from a hunting and fishing camp at Black River Ranch, just northeast of the fire lines. In addition, fire officials evacuated a local private ranch, kayaking camp, and have worked to protect several structures in the region.
The fire was initially reported at 2,700 acres on Sunday and 60 percent contained, but favorable conditions and better on the ground technology helped officials make a formal estimate of the fire’s size on Monday, downgrading it to the current total of 2,200 acres at 75 percent containment.
“The containment doesn’t necessarily mean the fire is out, but it does mean it is unlikely to spread beyond containment lines,” said Heckman in a press release. “There may still be hot spots within the contained area.”
One firefighter was involved in a minor injury related to the fire. No other injuries or concerns have been reported. Roughly 32 firefighters are working with local law enforcement teams to contain the burn, according to the DNR.
Northern Michigan is known for its sprawling hardwood forests which includes a variety of maple, beech, and mixed oak species. The lower peninsula accounts for roughly 37 percent of forested land in the state and is home to a large swath of the state’s wilderness.
The lower peninsula is home to a variety of big game, including elk, which were recently estimated to have increased by 5 percent over the past three years. The Blue Lakes Fires joins the list of other fires currently causing concern around the country, including several fires in the Southwest portion of the United States, including New Mexico and Arizona.
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Occurrences of wildfire continue to increase nationwide and with high levels of drought plaguing many states, officials are preparing for the possibility of a long and challenging wildfire season.
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