State officials are temporarily closing a major state park in the Upper Peninsula. If the Duck Lake Fire continues at the same rate and in the same direction it’s expected to be within a mile of Tahquamenon Falls State Park by tonight, officials say.
More than 100 campers with reservations for the holiday weekend are being offered refunds, or sites at other parks.
At last report from the state Department of Natural Resources 17,000 acres have burned and the fire is not contained.
Right now it’s similar in size to a major fire dubbed the Sleeper Lake Fire back in 2007. But Gary Willis, in the DNR’s fire command center in Newberry, says that fire didn’t spread anywhere near this quickly.
“This fire is more like a western fire, in the way this spread and the way that it’s crowning because it’s in pine. We don’t have the mountainous terrain, but we have such an incredible wind,” he says.
Drought conditions combined with fierce winds, warm temperatures and low humidity continue to fuel the blaze.
Willis says a garden hose will not protect homeowners from 100 foot flames.
“Don’t hesitate to evacuate,” he says. “Don’t stay and be trapped.”
But Friday afternoon, officials estimate 20 homes, cottages and other structures have been lost to the blaze.
A major fire also continues to burn in the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. At last report that blaze had burned 3,200 acres and was 65 percent contained.