10:30PM FIRE UPDATE: One Fire Contained, Other Still Growing
Northern Michigan's News Leader continues to follow two massive forest fires in Crawford County. One fire is burning near F-97 and M-18, forcing people nearby to evacuate their homes. The DNRE tells us anyone evacuated today should NOT return to their homes tonight. It's scorched more than 6,000 acres and is far from containment. It's 6.5 miles long, and 1.5 miles wide. So far, four structures have been destroyed, but it's still unclear what type. We have learned that there are no reported injuries. Grayling Mercy Hospital has been prepared to handle any injuries that may come up. A huge smoke cloud can be seen stretching for miles and ash is falling as far away as Cadillac. Strong winds are helping fan the flames. About 175 firefighters fought the fire on the ground today. Tonight that has been knocked down to 40. Crews also attacked the flames from the air, but the helicopters have been sent back today. They'll return in the morning. Right now the Red Cross has two shelters, one at St. Helen Elementary School in St. Helen and the other is at Resurrection Life Church just east of Grayling. Those evacuees have been put up in local motels, or are staying with family in the area. Meanwhile, firefighters have finally contained an out of control wildfire near Camp Grayling, but not before it burned around 1,100 acres. The fire has destroyed four homes. Tune in to Michigan This Morning Wednesday for a live report from the scene.