For several days, Michigan firefighters have been tirelessly at work to contain a massive wildfire raging through Montmorency and Cheboygan counties. The Blue Lakes Fire, which has been estimated to cover over an estimated 2,710 acres, and has so far caused the evacuation of 13 people from the Black River Ranch, with no other evacuations and no structures lost as of yet, according to the Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Kerry Heckman.
The cause of the fire is believed to have been the result of a lightning strike on May 11. The fire is fueled by a mix of jack pine, mixed pine and grasses, with a very large smoke plume visible from miles away. The DNR has 40 firefighters on the ground and a 12-member incident management team. In addition, members of local fire departments are assisting in fire suppression efforts. Numerous roads are closed in the area to accommodate firefighting efforts and protect public safety. They include: Blue Lakes Road to East Branch Road, Black River Road to Camp 30 Road, Clark Bridge Road to Black River Road, Blue Lakes Road to Meridian Line Road, and The Black River between Blue Lakes Road and Clark Bridge Road.
Northern Michigan has been issued a Red Flag Warning for fire risk. The warning was applied to all of Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula due to the warm temperatures, very low humidities and strong winds expected in the area. As of Monday May 16, officials have reported that roughly 75 percent of the fire has been contained.