Firefighters contain 200-acre wildfire in Schoolcraft County
SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTY — Firefighters from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said a 203-acre wildfire burning in a swamp north of M-28 in Schoolcraft County since Saturday afternoon has been.
The Creighton Swamp Fire was reported Saturday afternoon, burning in a remote area, difficult to access, east of County Road 454 (Creighton Truck Trail).
“We have DNR resources from the Lower Peninsula helping our Upper Peninsula DNR firefighters with the effort, along with personnel and equipment from the Seney National Wildlife Refuge,” said Keith Murphy, a DNR fire management specialist.
A lightning strike is considered the most probable cause of the fire, but the blaze remains under investigation.
Crews continued to suppress the wildfire over the past couple of days. It was estimated to be 80% contained as of Sunday night.
“Access is a major issue,” Murphy said. “No wheeled vehicles can access the fire.”
A drone with an infrared camera was being flown Tuesday to help delineate the full extent of the fire, and identify areas that may be concealing fire in the subsoils.
Initially, the fire spread quickly through marsh grasses, but slowed considerably once it reached trees and larger vegetation. The blaze also has been held in check by streams and creeks and a wet-line laid by personnel on the tracked vehicles and with pumps and hoses.
No structures have been threatened and no injuries reported.
The DNR has had roughly 25 firefighters battling the fire, with tracked DNR wetland power bully engines from Gwinn and Newberry and a tractor plow from Shingleton. A DNR pilot has surveyed the blaze from overhead.
In addition, four Seney National Wildlife Refuge firefighters and a DNR crew from Gladwin have been working on the wildfire using amphibious marsh buggies called “marsh masters.”
Crews will continue work on the fire over the next several days.
Over the past decade, 271 wildfires in Michigan have been attributed to lightning strikes, charring a total of 43,800 acres – the highest acreage of all other causes, including significant Upper Peninsula blazes like the Sleeper Lake Fire in 2007 and the Duck Lake Fire of 2012.
The DNR urges everyone to use caution with fire. The cause of most wildfires in Michigan is human activity.