2012-05-31 / Front Page

Pine Creek North fire 95 percent contained

A fireman is shown “mopping up” portions of the Pine Creek North wildfire on Pine Island recently. 
Photo courtesy USFWS A fireman is shown “mopping up” portions of the Pine Creek North wildfire on Pine Island recently. Photo courtesy USFWS SENEY – A wildfire within the Seney National Wildlife Refuge boundaries was 95 percent contained as of Monday, with approximately 3,400 acres burned. The Pine Creek North fire was first reported on May 21 – believed to have been ignited by a lightning strike.

Various areas of the refuge were closed throughout the week as fire crews worked to contain the wildfire. As of Friday, increased containment and forecasted wind directions allowed the refuge to open the auto tour and nature trail for the Memorial Day weekend, explained Jennifer McDonough, visitor services director of the refuge. Other areas remained closed.

During fire containment efforts, air support was used to aid ground crews, McDonough noted, with air tankers obtaining water from the Big Manistique Lake in Curtis, and a helicopter collecting water from Refuge pools. On Monday, no air support was used, as the fire was increasingly contained.

“About twenty firefighters continue to patrol the perimeter searching for hotspots, flare-ups and snag trees,” McDonough stated in a press release. “Hot spots and flare ups that are close to the perimeter, or have a path of unburned vegetation to the perimeter, are extinguished with water. Snag trees, should they fall, pose hazards to firefighters or may block access roads or ignite unburned areas outside of the containment line. These snags are being felled by firefighters. Mop-up activities such as these will continue for some time.”

According to McDonough, resources on site for the Pine Creek North fire included: fire crews from Wis., Minn., and Ill.; refuge staff, refuge volunteers, U.S. Forest Service Logistics, Planning and Support personnel; a 100-Person Mobile Cache; a mobile communications center; seven Marshmasters; and four Type Six Engines. Agencies on site included: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Michigan State Police.

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