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Wilderness Trail Fire is 85% contained; source was a campfire on private property

The Wilderness Trail Fire east-southeast of Grayling was 85% contained Sunday morning after fire crews from the Department of Natural Resources and partner agencies worked through the night.

“The crews were working in hilly, sandy terrain and that was difficult,” said Mike Janisse, Incident Commander of the Michigan DNR Incident Management Team supporting the fire. “Weather conditions also were hot, dry and windy.”

Fire danger has been very high to extreme in most parts of Michigan, and that is expected to continue with current hot, dry weather conditions. Burn permits for yard debris are not being granted at this time.

“One of the most important things people can do now is to refrain from burning until we get significant rain,” Janisse said.

People who were evacuated from the fire area were allowed to return to their homes late Saturday.

The fire started about 1 p.m. Saturday near Staley Lake in Grayling Township and burned in a southwest direction through jack pine, mixed pines and oak. The fire source was a campfire on private property.

Several local roads remain closed.

I-75, closed Saturday afternoon because of poor visibility due to smoke, reopened shortly before midnight Saturday. There is still heavy smoke in the area; drivers are asked to proceed with care.

A temporary flight restriction remains in place for a 5-mile perimeter around the fire at heights below 5,000 feet. Do not fly aircraft or drones in the area.

Fire danger remains high to extreme

To reduce the risk of wildfire:

  • Never leave a fire unattended, even for a moment.
  • Check first to see if conditions allow for burning at
  • Always put fires out completely with water. Drench the coals, stir with a shovel and drench again.
  • Don’t park vehicles over dry grass; heat from vehicles can ignite dry grass. Make sure no trailer chains are dragging, which can create sparks, and be careful when using power equipment outside.

The DNR will continue to share fire updates via news releases and on the department Twitter account at

Note to editors: Accompanying photos and resources are available below. Caption information follows.

  • PDF map: Map of fire area near Grayling.
  • Fire danger map: Great Lakes Fire and Fuels map displaying current fire danger conditions. Much of Michigan is experiencing extreme fire danger.