ESCANABA - Two major wildfires were contained in the central Upper Peninsula on Tuesday as departments joined forces to battle the blazes. Firefighters remain on alert for flareups as warm temperatures and breezy conditions continue today.
Lightning is suspected to have caused a wildfire on the Seney National Wildlife Refuge where more than 1,500 acres burned, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.
A wildfire in the Round Lake area in Alger County damaged about 60 acres, said Bob Berbohm, Delta County Emergency Management Coordinator.
An Escanaba Public Safety firefighter hoses down what remains of a detached garage that was destroyed by fire on L.5 Road in Danforth Tuesday afternoon. (Daily Press photo by Holly Richer)
Eight fire departments, as well as police and emergency medical personnel, responded to the Round Lake fire, said Berbohm, who monitored firefighting activity via radio communication. No one was injured during the firefighting efforts, he said.
"Overall, everything went very, very well," Berbohm reported this morning. "We had good communication with Alger County throughout."
Fire departments responding from Alger County included Tri County, Mathias, Rock River, Autrain, and Munising townships, and Munising city. Alger County Emergency Medical Services were also on standby at the scene.
Fire agencies responding from Delta County included Nahma, Garden, Masonville, and Ensign townships. Tri-Star Emergency Medical Services were on hand.
Additional fire personnel responded from the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.
The Delta County Sheriff Department and Michigan State Police were assisting at the scene. Also present was the American Red Cross.
Outlying fire departments were alerted of the fire and were on call to fill in for potential emergencies in the townships responding to the Round Lake fire, said Berbohm.
Firefighters from Alger County were manning one side of the fire while Delta County firefighters controlled the other side, he explained.
On-scene commanders were also receiving information from a DNR airplane, he added. A DNR fire-spotting plane initially reported the fire around 12:30 p.m.
Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) monitored the fire-fighting efforts and personnel. Warnings were issued to the public to stay out of the area because of the high volume of emergency response vehicles present.
The fire was reported contained shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday. No structures or private property were damaged, according to Nancy Kolich, EOC Public Information Officer.
Berbohm said the fire was on the east side of Round Lake and winds were coming from the east pushing towards the residences around the lake.
"There still monitoring the area for hot spots," Berbohm said this morning. Cause of the fire is unknown at this time, he added, reminding the public the fire danger remains high.
"People really should not be burning, even in burn barrels," he noted. "The risk is high."
Lightning is said to have started the wildfire on the Seney National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials. The fire was discovered at the Pine Creek North location on Monday and had burned approximately 60 acres. By Tuesday evening, the fire had spread to include 1,500 acres south of M-28 and west of M-77.
Fire personnel responded with amphibious-tracked vehicles and brush trucks, according to Jennifer McDonough, spokesperson for the wildlife refuge. No structures were damaged by the blaze which was said to be contained Tuesday.
Escanaba, a garage was destroyed by fire Tuesday, according to Escanaba Public Safety officials who responded to the emergency call regarding an explosion followed by fire.
Upon arrival at 6442 L.5 Road, officers found a detached garage to be fully engulfed by flames. The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes. Firefighters were at the scene for about one and a half hours. No injuries were reported. Rampart Emergency Medical Services was at the scene on standby.
Cause of the garage fire is not known at this time and remains under investigation, according to a news release issued by Public Safety this morning.