Wildfire rages on after torching 2,000 acres in Montmorency & Cheboygan counties


Michigan Department of Natural Resources firefighters and local partners are working to contain a wildfire in Montmorency and Cheboygan counties estimated at 2,000 acres as of 9 p.m. Friday.

The Blue Lakes Fire has so far caused the evacuation of 13 people from the Black River Ranch, with no other evacuations and no structures lost as of Friday night, according to DNR spokesperson Kerry Heckman.

“The fire is fueled by a mix of jack pine, mixed pine and grasses, with a very large smoke plume visible from miles away,” she said.

Numerous roads are closed in the area to accommodate firefighting efforts and protect public safety. They include:

Blue Lakes Road to East Branch Road.
Black River Road to Camp 30 Road.
Clark Bridge Road to Black River Road.
Blue Lakes Road to Meridian Line Road.

The Black River between Blue Lakes Road and Clark Bridge Road also is closed.

The DNR has 40 firefighters on the ground and a 12-member incident management team. In addition, members of the following local fire departments are assisting in fire suppression efforts: Tri-Township, Hillman Area, Vienna, Canada Creek Ranch Fire Brigade, Albert Township, Charlton Township and Onaway.

Air support includes four Fire Bosses, one Air Attack plane, a Type 3 helicopter and a DNR spotter plane.

Additional support is being provided by Onaway EMS, Hillman Area EMS, Michigan State Police, Montmorency County Sheriff and DNR Law Enforcement Division.

The fire was discovered at about 12:40 p.m. Friday; the cause is under investigation.

Fire danger in the area is extreme due to windy, dry, warm weather and dry fuels. Fire danger for much of the state is expected to be high throughout the weekend. The DNR reminds people to check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit before planning to burn yard debris or start a campfire, and always to have an accessible water source nearby. For more fire safety tips, visit Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires.


Smoke from the Blue Lakes Fire billows out of the forest in an aerial image taken by a fire spotter plane.