GRAYLING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Wilderness Trail Fire near Grayling that burned more than 2,000 acres over the weekend closing roads and prompting evacuation plans, began as a campfire on private land and is now 90% contained according to officials.
Department of Natural Resource crews including other assisting agencies such as the Michigan State Police, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management are still working to fully contain the fire which as of Sunday evening was 90% contained. The fire has burned 2,400 acres.
“They are working on completing the containment line on the south side of the perimeter,” Michigan DNR Communications Specialist Kathleen Lavey said in an email to Michigan News Source, “Although cooler, more humid weather is helpful today, fire conditions remain very high or extreme through much of the state and people need to continue to be very aware of the fire danger.”
Michigan received support from Wisconsin who sent a team of firefighters from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to help the Michigan DNR and other agencies combat the Wilderness Trail Fire.
“We’re grateful for the help from our neighbors in Wisconsin as well as the support from federal, state and local fire departments, emergency management officials and law enforcement personnel,” said Mike Janisse, leader of the DNR Incident Management Team responding to the fire.
The team of firefighters and various machines, including three Type 4 engines with tractor plow dozers were made possible through the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact agreement. This compact comprises the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.
At least three buildings have been lost while early estimates show that the fire threatened more than 30 residents, 35 vehicles – including campers and boats – and nearly 60 outbuildings.
In the afternoon of June 3, there were several temporary road closures as firefighters and others worked to fight the fire, including Staley Lake Road and sections of I-75. A temporary flight restriction was also issued for a 5-mile perimeter around the fire at heights below 5,000 feet, forbidding aircraft or drones in the area as crews needed space to fight the fire.
Residents near the fire were encouraged to drive with care in affected areas as the abundance of smoke from the fire had caused reduced visibility.
“Limit exposure to wildfire smoke by staying indoors with windows shut, especially if you have asthma or another respiratory condition,” the Michigan DNR said.
The DNR also reminded residents this regarding Michigan’s struggles with fires already this year.
“Fire danger is still EXTREME throughout Michigan,” the department said in a tweet, “Please keep this in mind and watch over any campfires/cooking fires with water and a shovel nearby.”
DNR fire crews have already responded to 193 fires so far this year and open burning permits are not being issued at this time, according to the DNR.