GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said it has contained about 90% of the 2,400-acre fire that broke out Saturday in Crawford County near Grayling.
The wildfire started in Grayling Township near Staley Lake Road, just four miles southeast of Grayling around 1 p.m. on Saturday, the DNR said. The wildfire spread to over 3,000 acres. As of 5 p.m. Sunday, it was down to about 2,400 acres.
“The crews were working in hilly, sandy terrain and that was difficult,” Mike Janisse, incident commander of the Michigan DNR Incident Management Team, said in a press release. “Weather conditions also were hot, dry and windy.”
A team of 10 firefighters and five engines from the Wisconsin DNR came Sunday to help Michigan crews battle the blaze, thanks to a Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact agreement.
Several buildings in the area are in danger, DNR said. Some residents were evacuated. The DNR lifted the evacuation orders Saturday night and people who were evacuated were allowed to return to their homes.
So far, the DNR’s preliminary investigation found the fire threatened 35 homes, 38 vehicles including 23 campers and three boats, as well as 58 outbuildings. Three outbuildings were lost, the DNR said.
Several roads remain closed while crews battle the fire. A temporary flight restriction is also in place for a five-mile perimeter around the fire at heights below 5,000 feet. The DNR is asking that pilots not fly aircraft or drones in the area.
The DNR said the fire was caused by a campfire on private property.
Thousands of customers are experiencing power outages, according to the Consumers Energy outage map. It is estimated to be restored Sunday afternoon. Power was purposefully shut off for the safety of the firefighters, 9&10 News in Cadillac reported.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center on Saturday to coordinate the wildfire response.
The public is asked to avoid the area, stay inside to minimize exposure to smoke, and drive with care, since the smoke may reduce visibility.
Because Michigan is currently experiencing hot, dry weather, fire danger is high and burn permits for yard debris are not being granted. The DNR advised never leaving a fire unattended and putting out fires completely with water.
“One of the most important things people can do now is to refrain from burning until we get significant rain,” Janisse said in a press release.
More information about wildfire prevention is available here.