By Linda Stephan
State officials have confirmed the loss of 95 structures as a result of a major wildfire that continues to burn in the eastern Upper Peninsula. The Duck Lake fire is now estimated to be 22,204 acres in size, and officials say they have contained 51 percent. The east side of the fire remains active, officials say, and extreme fire conditions continue – especially with winds expected today out of the west and southwest. Within the perimeter flame lengths are still 10 to 15 feet, with the potential for blow ups.
Structures lost include 31 homes and cabins, a store and a motel. Multiple structures were lost on a total of 31 properties. The state Department of Natural Resources has not been able to inspect every area of the fire as of yet. Evacuation orders remain in effect, though the DNR has allowed property owners in limited areas an opportunity to go in and assess damage for themselves.
The fire line includes six miles up against Lake Superior shoreline and another 13 miles of completed line to stop the fire from spreading further, but 21 miles remain uncontained, and with few roads in the area, officials say access has been difficult.
Despite recent rains, fire danger remains all over the state. DNR officials say drought conditions have been severe enough that they will not be solved by one rain event. The governor’s ban on open burning remains in effect, and while it only applies in and adjacent to forestlands, the state is urging people to avoid outdoor burning and fireworks displays.
The Duck Lake Fire is believed to have been started by a lightning strike.