DNR: 85% of 3,000-acre wildfire trail caused by campfire in Northern Michigan is contained

Fire started Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Wilderness Trail Fire east-southeast of Grayling (Michigan DNR)

Michigan officials announced on Sunday that 85% of a wildfire trail in Northern Michigan is now contained.

Several fire crews were battling a 3,000-acre wildfire trail across Crawford County and Iosco County on Saturday as high temperatures and dry conditions created a high fire risk across the state. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that the source of the fire was a campfire on private property. The fire started around 1 p.m. on Saturday and was burning in a southwest direction from its origin. The fire affected a variety of tree species, including jack pine, mixed pines, and oak.

The fire was located approximately 4 miles southeast of Grayling in Grayling Township, near Staley Lake Road. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to assist in the fire response on Saturday. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan State Police (MSP), and United States Forest Service are providing support for fire suppression efforts.

DNR officials stated that fire danger has been very high to extreme in most parts of the state and is expected to continue due to projected hot and dry weather. Due to the weather in Michigan, burn permits are not being granted at this time.

Crawford County wildfire. A view from MSP Aviation Unit helicopter. (MSP)

“One of the most important things people can do now is to refrain from burning until we receive significant rain,” said Incident Commander of the Michigan DNR Incident Management Team Mike Janisse, supporting the fire.

Evacuated residents were granted permission to return to their homes on Saturday.

Several local roads remain closed due to the fire and smoke. Officials have reopened I-75 but urge drivers to exercise caution as there are still areas with heavy smoke.

Multiple closures are in place according to the DNR as of Saturday:

  • Staley Lake Road from M-72 to 4 Mile Road is closed.
  • Wilderness Trail from Keystone Landing Road to Staley Lake Road is closed.
  • Staley Lake Beach and Neff Lake Beach are closed.

Previous coverage: Firefighters battle 3,000-acre wildfire in Northern Michigan