2012-05-24 / Front Page

Wildfires hit two counties

Acres burned in Seney, Round Lake

Two wildfires – one now contained – have caused damage in Schoolcraft and Delta counties this week.

As of Tuesday evening, a wildfire, nearly 60 acres in size, has burned approximately 1,500 acres in Seney National Wildlife Refuge, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. The fire, believed to have been started by a lightening strike Sunday, was discovered and reported Monday.

The fire is located south of M28 and west of M77, north of the Refuge’s fishing loop. On Monday and Tuesday, fire crews, including three amphibious-tracked fire engine crews, as well as three type six engines (off-road wildland engine) and a Midewin hotshot crew worked to strengthen barriers around the fire.

According to the release, the firefighters are attempting to contain the fire within an area surrounded by Holland Ditch to the north, Pine Creek Road to the west, and the Fishing Loop to the east and south.

Crews have burned out fuel, also know as creating a fire break, along Holland Ditch and Pine Creek, in an attempt to slow the spread of the fire.

A CL 215 air tanker assisted Tuesday afternoon to help control the fire while crews established containment lines.

Some fire spots have occurred west of Pine Creek Road, the release states, and crews are currently working to contain these spots.

A helicopter is working to spot fires outside of the line established by firefighters. If a fire crosses Pine Creek Road, the release explains firefighters will attempt to contain the fire to the wet areas north along Pine Creek.

The containment area is approximately 2,500 acres in size, and no structures are currently threatened. The fire is not fully contained, but the release states that progress is being made.

In Delta County, a wildfire in the Round Lake area has burned approximately 40 acres, according to a DNR official.

DNR Communications Coordinator Debbie Munson Badini explained that at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, emergency service crews from Delta and Alger counties were notified of the fire – east of Round Lake in Nahma Township.

As of Wednesday morning, the fire was fully contained with only a few hot spots remaining, said Badini. She also noted that only three DNR fire units remain on the scene.

There have been no reports of private property damage, and Badini is warning residents of the current wildfire danger.

“We have extremely dangerous wildfire conditions right now,” she explained. “The area is really dry, really warm, and windy. These are the big three factors that cause the fires. Residents need to be aware of this danger and report any suspected wildfires or smoke.

“There is currently no open burning allowed,” she continued. “Hopefully we get some rain in the next couple days, but until then, we will probably see a few more fires popping up here and there.”

Any questions, comments or concerns regarding the Seney fire can be directed to Jennifer McDonough, visitor services, at (906) 586-9851 ext. 16.

Questions about the Round Lake fire can be directed to Nancy Kolich, public information officer, at (906) 789-5105.

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