Aug 25, 2023

DNR reveals cause of 136

Columns of smoke and flames cross the landscape in Wexford County as part of the 136-acre Fife Lake Outlet Fire.Michigan Department of Natural Resources

WEXFORD COUNTY, MI – Officials have identifed the cause of a 136-acre wildfire in Northern Michigan.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, fire crews are still monitoring an area near Manton in Wexford County two days after the so-called Fife Lake Outlet Fire began.

The fire began after a campfire at a private residence escaped its ring and burned through dry grass, according to Bret Baker, fire supervisor in the Michigan DNR's Cadillac office.

It was fueled by dry grass and dry leaves and needles on the ground, Baker said. The fire burned through jack pine, red pine and oak trees. Yard waste burning is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan, according to the DNR, and dry conditions aren't helping.

"It hasn't been this dry before this early in the season," Baker said.

The homeowner had put water on the fire before going inside, according to the DNR, but it spread nonetheless.

A total of 18 DNR firefighters and crews from five local fire departments battled the blaze using four bulldozers, one skidder and four engines.

The U.S. Forest Service also provided two Fire Boss tanker airplanes, which strategically dropped water on the fire in a coordinated effort with the DNR's spotter airplane.

The fire was contained at about 10 p.m. on Sunday.

The fire caused the evacuation of nearby Chippewa Landing Campground. Campers were allowed to return around 11 p.m. on Sunday.

With very little rain statewide during May, conditions remain very dry across the state. As a result, the DNR is not issuing any burn permits.

The DNR has offered several tips that residents should follow to avoid causing wildfires.


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