Blue Lakes Fire 60% Contained, 2,700 Acres Covered

The Blue Lakes Fire in Montmorency and Cheboygan counties is now 60% contained.

As of Sunday, the wildfire covered an estimated 2,710 acres. The cause of the fire is believed to be a lightening strike, from a May 11 thunderstorm.

“Sometimes those lightening strikes get into a tree and it smolders and sputters and then the wind picks up a day later, an hour later, two days later and then the fire can drop to the ground from the burning tree and start to take off if the conditions are right,” said DNR Public Information Officer Tim Webb.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources fire crews are currently working to improve the containment lines they’ve already established and keep working their way north.

“This fire burnt into a lot of wet area, so we’re kind of focusing our efforts on the north part where we don’t have established lines yet, we have crews in there cold-trailing that edge, so a lot of our efforts are on the north end,” said Blue Lakes Fire Division Supervisor Steve Schumer.

Black River Ranch was fully evacuated. Schumer’s crew was there on Sunday, looking for any snags or hotspots hindering their control line.

“The fire burned from the south behind me, up to the north and it jumped this runway here and continued on north, so this is just where the fire burnt up to,” said Schumer. “We’re looking for any snags and hotspots, anything that’s hindering our control lines.”

The Michigan DNR says the rapid spread of the fire on Friday was not surprising due to weather conditions.

“Fires really take off when we have low humidity, high wind speeds and dry fuels and high temperatures,” said Webb.

Many local roads, as well as a portion of the Black River, remain closed, including:

  • East Branch Road and Black River Road between 622 and Oxbow Creek Road.
  • Clark Bridge Road between Black River Road and Osmun Road.
  • Blue Lakes Road between Hardwood Lake Road and East Branch Road.
  • Black River Road between Blue Lakes Road and the Meridian Line Road and 622 intersection.
  • The Black River remains closed between Blue Lakes Road and Clark Bridge Road.

With better weather conditions throughout the week, fire activity is expected to be lower. The DNR is hopeful the wildfire could be fully contained in the next few days.

“There’s still some uncontrolled areas on the north side of the fire, but those are largely in very wet areas, so we don’t see a lot of fire movement there, not a lot of risk of it expanding or getting out of control,” said Webb.