69
      Sunday
      85 / 70
      Monday
      79 / 60
      Tuesday
      76 / 59

      Wildfire forces evacuations

      Tuesday 4:45 pm: The Department of Natural Resources will host an informational meeting on Wednesday from 5-7 pm in Newberry. The meeting will provide community members with current fire information, updates on structure losses and other things of interests. The meeting will take place at McMillan Township Hall in Newberry.

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      Monday 8:45pm: The American Red Cross, Superior Upper Peninsula Chapter is responding to the Duck Lake wildfire near Newberry.

      More than twenty volunteers from the local chapter and from across Michigan are working to help the victims of this fire and the firefighters who are responding to it. A shelter is open at the American Legion located at 7964 State Highway M123, Newberry, MI 9868 for those displaced by the fire. In addition, the Red Cross is providing water and snacks for the firefighters as they go out each morning.

      Red Cross nurses and counselors are available at the shelter for all affected ?? victims and responders alike. They invite all community members to stop by.

      If anyone is interested in volunteering with the Red Cross for this or future disasters, there will be an information and orientation session on Tuesday at 2:00pm and again at 7:00pm at the American Legion in Newberry. Especially needed are licensed health and mental health practitioners. To register or for more information, please call Joyce or Jeff at (906) 293-8711.

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      The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released a list of property damages from the Duck Lake Fire in the Upper Pennisula's Luce County.

      So far, 100 properties have been inspected and 31 were considered damaged. Of the 31 damaged properties, 95 structures were lost. The list is mostly homes, garages and sheds, but also includes some campers, a store, and a motel.

      The property inspections are ongoing throughout today. The DNR says that property owners will be notified after their inspection is complete.

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      Monday 12:00am:

      The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and partner agencies on Sunday hosted a public meeting for property owners affected by the ongoing Duck Lake Fire in the Upper Peninsula's Luce County. Over 200 people attended.

      Property damage assessments have now been completed for the Pike Lake and Little Lake Harbor areas, and are ongoing on the rest of the fire. So far, 80 structures - homes, cabins, garages, outbuilding and sheds - have been confirmed destroyed by the fire, with some 100 properties inventoried for damage. The Rainbow Lodge at the mouth of the Two Hearted River has sustained heavy damage.

      On Sunday Luce County Emergency Management provided tours for homeowners in the Pike Lake and Little Lake Harbor areas. This was an opportunity to quickly visit their homes to see the status for themselves. Road closures remain in effect for the general public.

      Those who own property in the fire zone should phone 211 (Upper Peninsula residents) and 1-800-338-1119 (all others) to register their structure location and contact information. As the structure inventory and damage assessment are completed, the involved parties will be contacted and informed of the status of their property.

      The most recent GPS data put the current size of the Duck Lake Fire at 22,204 acres. Forty-eight percent of the fire is contained.

      An evacuation order is in effect for the area from Pike Lake east to County Road 500 and north to Little Lake Harbor. Residents are advised to be vigilant and evacuate. 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.

      Tahquamenon Falls State Park's lower falls campground, upper falls viewing area, and visitor center remain closed due to smoke concerns.

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      Sunday 12:30pm: New GPS data shows that the fire is now estimated to cover 20,255 acres. 47% of the fire area is contained.

      Saturday, firefighters made progress on securing portions of the fire perimeter especially along the northwest flank from Lake Superior south to County Road 414 and at the south end of the fire. North of Pike Lake the fire has extended east to County Road 500, with the fire crossing the road in two locations. Fire lines in this area are currently holding.

      South of Pike Lake the fire is well west of County Road 500. Air water drops have knocked down hot spots from Little Lake Harbor south to Culhane Lake. Structure protection is high priority and is being closely monitored from the air. The entire east side of the fire, from Little Lake Harbor south, is active and with expected westerly/northwesterly winds, extreme fire conditions persist. Flame lengths within the fire perimeter are still 10 to 15 feet. Potential for blow-up conditions continue.

      During the night, three VFD fire engines patrolled the lines and continued suppression of hot spots.

      Sunday's incident objectives are:

      -- To provide for public and firefighter safety

      -- To provide for structure protection

      -- To keep the fire north of M-123

      -- To keep fire in vicinity of County Rd. 500

      -- To hold fire inside constructed dozer line on northwest flank

      -- To hold the fire inside burnout operations on the northeast flank

      -- To continue gathering GPS data on completed line.

      Today??s fire suppression activities will focus on holding existing secure line, fortifying established line put in yesterday, and extending fire lines north from the fire heel along both the east and west flanks. A burn out operation yesterday to create black line along Co. Rd. 500 on the northeast flank will be monitored and mopped up where needed to secure this portion of the flank. Air operations will be focusing efforts on the east and south west flanks and structure protection.

      An evacuation order is in effect for the area from Pike Lake east to County Road 500 and north to Little Lake Harbor. Residents are advised to be vigilant and evacuate.

      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.

      A number of structures have been damaged or lost. The Luce County Emergency Management Team, DNR conservation officers, and firefighters will continue to assess damage. Concerned parties should phone 211 (Upper Peninsula residents) and 1-800-338-1119 (all others) to register their structure location and contact information. As the structure inventory and damage assessment are completed, the involved parties will be contacted by the DNR and informed of the status of their property.

      A Reminder: The DNR will be hosting a public meeting at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 27, 2012 at the McMillan Township Hall at the corner of M-123 and Truman in Newberry. The meeting is for those residents who were evacuated or have questions about evacuations and will focus on general fire information and structure losses. DNR fire staff, public information officers, law enforcement, and the Luce County Emergency Management Team will be in attendance at the meeting.

      The Tahquamenon Falls State Park??s lower falls campground, upper falls viewing area, and visitor center have been closed due to smoke concerns.

      A total of 229 personnel (of which 40 are overhead personnel) are involved with fire suppression efforts. Agencies, people and equipment involved include:

      ? Three DNR Conservation Officers on duty around the clock.? Volunteer fire departments: Bay Mills, Garfield Township, Columbus Township, Portage Township, Whitefish Township, Superior Township, Village of Newberry, Seney Township, and Kinross Township.? 13 DNR fire engines, 10 volunteer fire department engines, 2 VFD fire department water tankers, 3 Wisconsin DNR engines.? 12 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, Red Cross, Michigan State Police Emergency Management, Luce County Emergency Management, Michigan National Guard, Wisconsin DNR, Minnesota DNR, Chippewa County Sheriff Department, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

      A warm front moving through this morning and may bring some rain on the fire area which is expected to clear by noon. Temperatures in the low 70s and a relative humidity of 50 percent or greater are expected.

      It is essential that the public realize and respect the extreme danger this fire poses to especially areas east of the entire 10 mile long east flank. The rain and the predicted

      weather for today will aid progress in constructing additional fire control lines and securing existing line.

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      Saturday 11:30pm: Progress was made Saturday, securing portions of wildfire perimeter in Luce County, especially along the northwest flank.

      The northwest flank from Lake Superior south to a point 1 1/2 miles south of County Road 414 is declared secure (20 percent contained). Good progress was also made along the west and east flanks at the south end (heel) of the fire. The most fire activity again was along the northeast flank north of Pike Lake. On this section the two areas where the fire extended over County Road 500 are now contained. Structure protection is high priority along this flank and with air and ground support has been successful. The remaining fire lines in this area are currently holding. South of Pike Lake, the fire is well west of County Road 500. The entire fire contains areas that are actively burning and, with forecasted weather, likely will remain so. However, with more moderate temperatures and winds expected tomorrow, along with possible precipitation, progress is expected with line fortification and extension.

      The evacuation order is still in effect for the area from Pike Lake east to County Road 500 and north to Little Lake Harbor. As was announced earlier this evening, all evacuees seeking information on the status of structures are asked to call the following numbers in order to register to be contacted when information is available:

      UP Residents: Dial 211

      Non- UP Residents: 1-800-338-1119

      A number of structures have been damaged or lost and the Luce County Emergency Management Team, DNR conservation officers and firefighters continue to assess damage. Information on structures will be shared with property owners as it becomes available beginning Sunday.

      Several road closures are still in effect. County Road 414 at the intersection with County Road 410 east, and County Road 500 from M-123 north to Little Lake Harbor remain closed. Please do not enter the area.

      In addition, Tahquamenon Falls State Park continues to be closed, with campers directed to other facilities. Campground reservations will not be taken until May 31 at the earliest.

      Crews will continue nighttime suppression efforts with three (3) VFD engines that will be patrolling and holding lines. A total of 229 firefighters are battling the blaze.

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      Saturday 12:00pm: The Duck Lake fire in Luce County is now 21,114 acres in size, having grown slightly overnight. 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. The fire area includes 6 miles of Lake Superior shoreline and 29.5 miles of uncontained fire line. Access is very difficult with few roads.

      Good progress was made Friday in securing portions of fire perimeter especially along the northwest flank from Lake Superior south to County Road 414 and along the west and east flanks at the south end of the fire.

      North of Pike Lake the fire has extended east to County Road 500, with the fire crossing the county road in one location. Fire lines in this area are currently holding. South of Pike Lake the fire is well west of County Road 500. Air water drops have knocked down hot spots from Little Lake Harbor south to Culhane Lake. Structure protection is high priority and is being closely monitored from the air. The entire east flank from Little Lake Harbor south is active and with expected westerly/northwesterly winds, extreme fire conditions persist. Flame lengths within the fire perimeter are still 10 feet to 15 feet. Potential for blow-up conditions continue.

      A DNR engine and seven Volunteer Fire Department engines worked through the night to protect and monitor structures. Luce County Emergency Management and Michigan Conservation Officers worked through the night to assess damage to private structures.

      Today??s fire suppression activities will focus on extending already secure fire lines north from the fire heel along both the east and west flanks; south from County Road 414 along the west flank; and further secure lines around Little Lake Harbor and Pike Lake structures. Air tankers and the helicopter will be focusing efforts on the segment of the east flank near Little Lake Harbor and Pike Lake.

      An evacuation order is in effect for the area from Pike Lake east to County Road 500 and north to Little Lake Harbor. Residents are advised to be vigilant and evacuate. County Road 414 to County Road 410 and County Road 500 from M-123 north to Little Lake Harbor are closed. Please do not enter the area.

      A number of structures have been damaged or lost and the Luce County Emergency Management Team, DNR conservation officers, and firefighters will continue to access damage. Tahquamenon Falls State Park has been closed and campers have been directed to other facilities. Campground reservations will not be taken until May 31 at the earliest.

      A total of 101 firefighters are battling the blaze.

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      Update 6:45pm- Governor Rick Snyder has declared a State of Disaster in Luce and Schoolcraft Counties in the U.P. due to the 20,000 acre wildfire that is spreading rapidly. This will allow more state resources to be available.

      Update 6:20pm- The Duck Lake Fire has burned nearly 20,000 acres in Luce County. Authorities have closed sections of Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula because of an approaching wildfire.

      The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the Lower Falls campground and Upper Falls viewing area are off limits. Visitors are being evacuated. Park staffers have also notified more than 100 campers to cancel reservations for relocate.

      The DNR says if the fire continues on its current path it will get within one mile of the Upper Falls viewing area by Friday night.

      Fire crews continue to battle a wildfire in Luce County that sparked by a lightning strike Wednesday.

      The fire triggered an evacuation of between 50 and 60 homes and camps on Pike Lake. Evacuees were sent to a shelter set up at the Newberry Youth Center and have been supported by the Red Cross. At this time there are no injuries related to the wildfire.

      The Department of Natural Resources reports that the fire has currently burned more than 17,000 acres and there is zero containment so far. Thursday night the fire had burned about 10,000 acres before reaching Lake Superior. A strong wind shift sent the fire to the Northeast around Little Lake Harbor.

      More than 20 structures, including the Rainbow Lodge have been damaged by the fire. The 40-year old canoe rental business is closed indefinitely and all reservations over memorial day weekend have been cancelled.

      The DNR crews say access to the area is difficult, flames have reached 200 feet in the air causing crews to back off. Another concern is the jack pines fueling the fire.

      The DNR has six tractor plows, one D5 bulldozer, seven wild lane fire engines, one marsh unit, one skidder fitted to be a plow and water unit and 40 firefighters battling the blaze.

      In addition, the Bay Mills, Newberry Village, Portage Township, White Fish Township, Superior Township and Garfield Township provided support.

      From a weather standpoint, 7&4 Storm Team Meteorologist Joe Charlevoix said that a few light showers passed over Northern Luce County very early Friday morning, but radar estimates of rainfall showed only a meager .05" of rain or so, hardly anything of note to really help out the firefighting efforts. Winds will be out of the west Friday with gusts to 20 mph at times.

      Looking forward, there are chances for rain in this area over the weekend. None will fall Friday or for that matter much of Saturday, but after dark Saturday night, and more so Sunday, showers/thunderstorms (especially Sunday afternoon) are likely as a warm front moves in with possibly .80-1.00" of rain falling at that time.

      This fire is very reminiscent of the Sleeper Lakes Fire (Michigan's 3rd largest) that flared on August 2, 2007 north of Newberry also due to a lightning strike. That fire eventually burned over 18,500 acres.

      The fire is one of two wildfires in the area.

      Crews continue fighting a fire at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Schoolcraft County that's burned 3,000 to 3,200 acres.