CLYDE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A wildfire near Fennville was mostly contained Thursday, fire officials say.

The 303-acre fire broke out near 113th Avenue in the Allegan State Game Area near Ely Lake Campground in Clyde Township on Wednesday.

Six homes were evacuated as a precaution, Paul Rogers, a fire prevention specialist with Michigan DNR, said. Those residents returned to their homes Wednesday night.

Rogers said the fire is almost contained, but will likely not be fully out until the area gets some rain. As of Thursday afternoon, he said the fire burned more than 300 acres and is 95% contained.

“That’s why we got a lot of our crews back here today,” Rogers explained. “We got multiple engines, we got two dozers back in there, plus we have multiple UTV’s and securing the line, as far as the direction of what the wind is blowing today, and to make sure that’s secured first, then we’ll be traversing the whole fire all day today.”

The fire came as most of West Michigan is under a red flag warning for fire risk. Strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures increases the risk for fire, according to the National Weather Service.

“We had all the ingredients we needed,” Rogers said. “The big kicker was the wind.”

He said winds were blowing up over 30 mph, humidity was lower than usual, in the low 20’s and high teens and temperatures were over 80 degrees. Those factors all contributed to create a high fire risk.

DNR investigators still haven’t concluded how the fire started but can rule out campground activity from nearby Ely Lake.

“It’s not anywhere near that campground. With the wind, it was blowing in the opposite direction of that, so we’re just looking at all options to make sure we have everything correct,” Rogers added.

While the fire was mostly contained, a few people who call the affected area their home got the scare of their lives.

While at work, an overwhelmed Jamie Clark got the news and suffered an asthma attack.

“I got in my car and took my inhaler before I went anywhere, because I just couldn’t breathe,” Clark said. “Having that aspect and then coming (home), getting the phone call … it was a lot for my body to process.”

When she arrived at home, Jamie Clark wasn’t expecting to see it in one piece while the smoke was billowing in the background.

“I didn’t know the severity of what was in the back,” Clark said. “I got all my important things and I figured the rest of this stuff can be replaced. Thankfully, that didn’t have to happen. God was in control.”

While Clark and some homeowners evacuated, others, like Mary Ann Dykstra, insisted on staying close by.

“I packed my dogs up and took my truck and I stayed up by the road,” Dykstra said. “I have five horses here, I’ve got three pigs (and) a whole bunch of chickens. They said something about ‘Well, you’ll have to let the horses go.’ I said, ‘I’m not going to do that until the last minute.’ So, I stayed here in the neighborhood like right up in front here.” 

In more than 30 years of living there, Dykstra said this marked the first time a fire like this ever happened. While grateful no people or her animals were seriously hurt, she hopes more attention is drawn to the dry timber around her and her neighbors — especially with dry, red flag warning conditions still threatening the area.

“Wood pellets, timber, firewood … There’s all this deadfall and all the stuff on the ground,” Dykstra pointed out. “Clean it up. Create some jobs.”