Blue Lakes Fire now 60% contained; estimated at 2,710 acres | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy photo Smoke from the Blue Lakes Fire billows from the forest in an aerial image taken by a fire spotter aircraft.

A wildfire in Montmorency and Cheboygan counties is approximately 60% contained today, as Michigan Department of Natural Resources fire crews and local partners work to connect remaining containment line gaps in the wet and low areas.

The Blue Lakes Fire is currently estimated at 2,710 acres. The increase in area from Saturday’s estimate is based on a more accurate GPS measurement of the area.

Fire activity is expected to be lower today due to more favorable weather conditions and ongoing cleanup efforts.

Cause attributed to the May 11 lightning strike

Crews were temporarily removed from fire lines Saturday afternoon due to the risk of lightning, said Tim Webb, MNR spokesman at the fire.

“Although northeast Michigan had widespread rain Saturday afternoon, little fell in the fire zone,” he said.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a lightning strike from a May 11 thunderstorm.

“It’s not uncommon for a lightning strike to smolder for several days until the surface combustibles dry out enough to ignite and allow the fire to spread,” Webb said.

Many roads in the region remain closed

A number of local roads as well as part of the Black River remain closed today, including:

∫ East Branch Road and Black River Road between 622 and Oxbow Creek Road.

∫ Clark Bridge Road between Black River Road and Osmun Road.

∫ Blue Lakes Road between Hardwood Lake Road and East Branch Road.

∫ Black River Road between Blue Lakes Road and Meridian Line Road and the intersection of 622.

∫ The Black River remains closed between Blue Lakes Road and Clark Bridge Road.

Local services have been helping since the fire started

spotted friday

Those assisting MNR fire crews today include the Onaway, Tri-Township, Hillman and Lewiston Fire Departments; Montmorency County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police and Emergency Management.

The fire was reported around 12:40 p.m. Friday. That afternoon, an MNR conservation officer escorted a group of kayakers up the Black River to the fire area to safety. The fire destroyed an outbuilding and damaged a private vehicle.

Due to the increased fire risk, MNR has not conducted any prescribed burns over the past week and has not issued a burn permit. The fire danger remains high to very high across much of northern Michigan. Before any open burning, check and get fire safety tips at

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