DNR: Northern Michigan wildfire is now 98 percent contained

May 17, 2022 GMT

ONAWAY, Mich. (AP) — A wildfire in a heavily forested area of northern Michigan is now 98% contained and all road closures in the area have been lifted, state officials said Tuesday.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said a stretch of the Black River that was previously closed has also reopened. But the agency said it is still working on remaining gaps in the containment line within the fire area, which spans Montmorency and Cheboygan counties.

The DNR said people venturing into the wildfire area “are urged to be cautious.”

“If you are in the area, stay on roads,” said Kerry Heckman, the DNR’s fire public information officer.

Last weekend, the fire prompted the evacuation of 13 people from the Black River Ranch, a hunting and fishing camp near the town of Onaway in the far northern end of Michigan’s lower peninsula.

The fire began May 11 with a lightning strike that smoldered for several days before igniting nearby leaves, grass and brush, the DNR said.

The final estimate of the fire’s size was 2,516 acres, based on input from fire crews on the ground and high-tech tools such as drones used Monday, the DNR said.