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Blue Lakes Fire 98% contained; roads reopen but public urged to use caution within fire area

Ashes cover a burned forest area following the Blue Lakes Fire

The Blue Lakes Fire in the northeastern Lower Peninsula is now 98% contained. As a result, all road closures in the fire area have been lifted. The stretch of the Black River that was previously closed has also been opened.

However, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources still is working to connect remaining gaps in the containment line and mop up within the fire area, which is northwest of Atlanta and spans Montmorency and Cheboygan counties. People who enter the area are urged to be cautious.

“If you are in the area, stay on roads,” said Kerry Heckman, DNR fire public information officer. “There may be hot spots or snags, which are trees that can fall over without warning. There may be smoke, and fire crews will still be working in the area.” Seeing smoke within the fire area is not necessarily cause for alarm and is to be expected.

The final estimate of the fire’s size is 2,516 acres. Estimates can change throughout the course of the fire based on input from fire crews on the ground and high-tech tools such as drones, which were used Monday.

Mop-up crews put out hot spots, cut dangerous trees

A total of 28 DNR firefighters and two emergency medical technicians are on fire duty today, including sawyers cutting down dangerous trees and hand crews working on fire cleanup, as well as a 15-member incident management team and one DNR conservation officer.

Equipment in use includes four engines, one tractor plow and five utility terrain vehicles with water. Those assisting the DNR include Tri-Township EMS and Montmorency County Emergency Management.

The fire, reported at 12:40 p.m. Friday, was caused by a May 11 lightning strike which smoldered for several days before igniting nearby fuels such as leaves, grass and brush.  

There is increased fire danger in northern Michigan. Due to increased fire risk, the DNR has not been conducting prescribed burns and has not been issuing burn permits. Before any burning, check and get fire safety tips at

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

  • Fire map: Latest pdf map showing fire area and containment summary.
  • Ashes: Ashes cover the ground in an area where the Blue Lakes Fire burned.
  • Burned log: A burned log and ashes remain following the Blue Lakes Fire.

See all photos, videos and maps from the Blue Lakes Fire in this online gallery.

Contact: Kerry Heckman, 517-643-1256