In a recent news release, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced significant progress in containing the Wilderness Trail Fire situated east-southeast of Grayling, Mich. After a tireless effort by DNR and partner agencies, the fire is now 85% contained as of late Sunday morning.
Incident Commander Mike Janisse, leading the Michigan DNR Incident Management Team, acknowledged the challenges faced by the crews battling the blaze in hilly and sandy terrain. Additionally, the hot, dry, and windy weather conditions exacerbated the situation.
Across various regions of Michigan, fire danger remains alarmingly high to extreme, a trend expected to persist given the current scorching and arid conditions. Consequently, burn permits for yard debris are currently not being issued. Janisse emphasized the importance of refraining from burning until substantial rainfall occurs.
Residents who were previously evacuated from the affected areas were permitted to return to their homes late Saturday, bringing some relief amidst the turmoil.
The fire originated around 1 p.m. on Saturday near Staley Lake within Grayling Township. It swiftly spread southwest, consuming vast areas of jack pine, mixed pines, and oak forests. According to the DNR’s investigation, the source of the fire can be traced back to a campfire on private property. For the latest information on road closures, individuals are advised to refer to MiDrive.
Following Saturday’s closure of I-75 due to reduced visibility caused by smoke, the highway reopened shortly before midnight. However, heavy smoke still lingers in the vicinity, prompting drivers to exercise caution while navigating the area.
A temporary flight restriction remains in effect, encompassing a 5-mile perimeter below 5,000 feet around the fire site. All aircraft and drone operations within this area are strictly prohibited.
Given the persistently high to extreme fire danger, the DNR urges residents to adopt preventive measures to mitigate the risk of wildfires. These measures include never leaving fires unattended, checking burn permit availability on https://Michigan.gov/BurnPermit, and ensuring complete extinguishment of fires using water. It is crucial to drench the coals, stir them with a shovel, and drench them again. Moreover, individuals should avoid parking vehicles over dry grass, as the heat emitted by vehicles can ignite the parched vegetation. Taking caution with power equipment when used outdoors is also essential.
The DNR remains committed to sharing timely updates regarding the fire through news releases and its official Twitter account, https://Twitter.com/MichiganDNR.