The Blue Lakes Wildfire consumed over 2,200 acres in Montmorency County and extreme southern Cheboygan County. The number of acres burned has been slightly reduced, due to better mapping from aircraft. The fire is now over 98% contained.

All roads have now been reopened as has the Black River. However, anyone in the area is advised to stay on main roads. There may still be a few hot spots.

Click here for a map of the area consumed by the fire. That’s about halfway between Gaylord and Alpena. The entire county has fewer people than the village of Sparta (DNR pic. above).

The fire has consumed one shed and damaged one vehicle. There were 43 firefighters working this fire, along with a 13-person incident management team and one plane. One firefighter sustained a minor injury.

Wildfire in N. Michigan 5 13 22 – DNR photo

It has been preliminarily determined that the fire was started by lightning. However, keep in mind that (from the Insurance Information Institute): “As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, downed power lines, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning (or lava).”

Satellite picture Friday PM

The satellite pic. above shows the smoke from the fire, visible from space. The winds was from the south and blowing the snow north to Lake Huron.

Pic. from the Otsego Co. Fire Dept.

A number of roads were closed due to fire and smoke (map of closed roads at the link). Several of these roads have been reopened. The fire was called in shortly after noon on Friday, but appears to have started on Wed. May 11. Over a dozen residents were evacuated. The fire burnt mainly pine forests with dry brush at ground level fueling the fire.