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.
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.
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.
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.
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.