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Crews cleaning up after 136-acre fire near Manton; fire danger remains extreme in much of the state
May 30, 2023
Fire crews are still mopping up today after an escaped campfire caused an approximately 136-acre wildfire Sunday near Manton in Wexford County.
The Fife Lake Outlet Fire began after a campfire at a private residence escaped its ring and burned through dry grass, said Bret Baker, fire supervisor in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Cadillac office.
It was fueled by dry grass and dry leaves and needles on the ground, Baker said. The fire burned through jack pine, red pine and oak trees.
“It hasn’t been this dry before this early in the season,” Baker said.
The homeowner had put water on the fire before going inside.
Michigan State Police assisted the DNR by evacuating a nearby campground. A total of 18 DNR firefighters and crews from five local fire departments battled the blaze. It was contained at about 10 p.m. Sunday. Evacuees were allowed to return to the campground around 11 p.m.
DNR firefighters were assisted by the City of Manton Fire Department and the Fife Lake Area, Cedar Creek, South Boardman and Haring Township fire departments. Equipment used included four bulldozers, one skidder and four engines. The USDA Forest Service provided two Fire Boss tanker airplanes, which strategically dropped water on the fire in a coordinated effort with the DNR's spotter airplane.
With very little rain statewide during May, conditions remain very dry across the state. As a result, the DNR is not issuing any burn permits at this time. Yard waste burning is the top cause of wildfires in Michigan. If a backyard fire gets away from you, call 911 immediately.
Check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit before you start a fire to make sure weather conditions allow for safe burning. In southern Lower Peninsula communities, consult local fire authorities.
Tips to stay fire safe
Here are tips to keep your outdoor activities fire safe:
- Keep a hose or other water source nearby when burning.
- Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging when you’re on the road; don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.
- Contain your campfire or bonfire in a pit or ring and make sure you put it out thoroughly before leaving for the night. Douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again.
- Never leave any fire — including hot coals — unattended.
- Never shoot fireworks into the woods, dry grass or shrubs.
- It’s illegal to burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam or other household trash. This can release dangerous chemicals into the air.
- You can use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and natural materials.
Fire safety information is available at Michigan.gov/FireManagement.
Note to editors: A high-resolution photo is available below for download; caption information follows. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Fife Lake Outlet Fire: Columns of smoke and flames cross the landscape in Wexford County as part of the 136-acre Fife Lake Outlet Fire.