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HomeNewsCrawford NewsWilderness Trail Fire UPDATE 1:20 a.m; Kneff and Staley Lake rec areas...

Wilderness Trail Fire UPDATE 1:20 a.m; Kneff and Staley Lake rec areas reopen

GRAYLING – Although the Wilderness Trail Fire is not completely contained, Michigan officials said the recreation areas at Kneff Lake and Staley Lake, as well as some roads within the fire area will reopen today. Railroad tracks north of Four Mile Road have also reopened.

Official said the fire, estimated at 2,400 acres, is 90 percent contained.

Visitors the the fire area are warned to stay out of blackened areas. Dead trees weakened by the fire could be a hazard and the ground is still warm in places. If you do visit, try to stay on the roadways and keep pets leashed.

Firefighters from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources arrived early this afternoon to help battle the blaze. – Photo by Tracy Constance

Fire crews are still mopping up the remaining areas of the fire. Please drive slow and give them the space they need to work.

Firefighters from the across the region, as well as from the Wisconsin DNR, are assisting. The Wisconsin crews with their heavy equipment were made available through the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact, a mutual aid agreement between Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.

United States Forest Service planes and a DNR chopper scooped water from Neff Lake, Shellenbarger Lake and Lake Margrethe to pour on the fire.

Emergency personnel use aircraft and heavy equipment to suppress the wildfire. – Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

The June 3 blaze started about 1 p.m. near the intersection of Staley Lake Road and Wilderness Trail. It has affected 35 residences, 38 vehicles (including 23 campers and three boats), and 58 outbuildings. Three outbuildings were lost. A complete damage assessment is underway.

The blaze was caused by a campfire on private property that got out of control. The property owner has not been officially identified.

The forest fire in Crawford County. Photo is courtesy of Tom Akin

Power was shut off by Consumers Energy in Grayling on Saturday and part of Sunday to prevent the fire from spreading, and to protect firefighters. Power was restored about 2 p.m. Sunday.

Outline of the area burning as a result of the Wilderness Trail fire.
Aerial view of fire line near a roadway.

Agencies assisting with the blaze included: Wisconsin DNR (heavy equipment), Michigan State Police (helicopter), USDA Forest Service (fire planes and helicopter_ , Bureau of Land Management, Grayling Station 2, Grayling Public Safety, Gaylord City Fire Department; and fire departments from Grayling Township, Kalkaska, Blue Lake, Beaver Creek, Markey Township, Higgins Township, Richfield Township, South Branch Township, Frederic Township, Otsego County, Cold Springs and Denton Township.

UpNorthVoice.com will update this story as accurate information becomes available.


Mark Constance
Mark Constance can be reached at info@upnorthvoice.com



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