Northern Michigan wildfire 75% contained, drones used to find hotspots

The Blue Lakes Fire in northern Michigan is 75% contained and roads are open inside the fire zone as officials use drones to identify hotspots on Monday afternoon, May 16 , officials said.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been battling the fire since Friday afternoon, May 13. It was triggered by a lightning strike on Wednesday evening which smoldered for a few days before spreading, leading to a forest fire.

The containment means the fire is unlikely to spread beyond the containment lines where firefighters have dug a line down to bare earth – removing all fire fuels – around this part of the house. fire,” said Kerry Heckman, MNR’s public fire information officer.

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“There may still be hot spots in the confined area,” she said.

The DNR uses a drone and infrared imagery to identify hotspots that need attention, Heckman said.

Today’s estimate of 2,200 acres is lower than Sunday’s estimate due to improved mapping, she said.

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The unconfined portion of the Blue Lakes Fire line is mostly in low, wet areas that are difficult for firefighters to reach. Crews will be working in these areas today to fill gaps in the containment line.

This Blue Lakes Fire containment map in Montmorency and Cheboygan counties shows the boundaries of the fire as of Monday, May 16, 2022. The fire was started by a lightning strike on Wednesday, May 11 and started to spread on Friday, May 13. On Monday, the fire is 75% under control. Department of Natural Resources firefighters continue to work to contain and extinguish the blaze.Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Although some roads are reopening, the Blue Lakes Road between Hardwood Lake and Black River Roads is still closed. The Black River is also closed between Blue Lakes and Clark Bridge roads until nearby hot spots are identified and addressed.

DNR crews at the scene today include 32 DNR firefighters, two emergency medical technicians and a 13-member incident management team, with law enforcement assistance from two county sheriff’s deputies de Montmorency and three conservation officers from the DNR. Additional assistance is provided by Tri-Township EMS, Montmorency County Emergency Management and the Michigan State Police.

The equipment used includes five engines, two plow tractors, five utility all-terrain vehicles and a DNR spotter aircraft.

Fire danger remains high in northern Michigan. Due to the increased risk of fire, MNR did not conduct prescribed burns and did not issue burn permits. Before any open burning, check and get fire safety tips at


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