The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released an update on the Duck Lake Fire in Luce County. The fire is now estimated to be 21,450 acres in size. The fire had some flare-ups yesterday which resulted in the increase of the fire size. The fire is 55 percent contained. Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which had been closed due to danger posed by the fire, will reopen today. The Upper Falls Viewing Area, Lower Falls Campground, and Visitor Center will open to the public. The hiking trails north of M-123, including the North Country Trail, will remain closed. All other evacuated areas, road closures and burning bans related to the fire remain in effect.
The DNR will host a public informational meeting this evening in Newberry for community members interested in the Duck Lake Fire. The DNR will provide current fire information, updates on structure losses and other topics of interest. The meeting will be from 5 to 7 p.m. at the McMillan Township Hall at the corner of M-123 and Truman in Newberry. Fire personnel will be available to answer questions. Incident Commander Rich Ahnen will be present along with cooperating agencies to provide further information about firefighting and recovery efforts.
A Marquette-based community development agency has announced they are gathering items to take to firefighters battling the Duck Lake Fire. The Great Lakes Center for Youth Development, located at 1175 Erie Street in Marquette, will be sending a staff member to the Newberry area at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Individuals and groups may drop off their donations for the fire fighters at the GLCYD office before then.
Northern Michigan University’s Carey Hall will be put to productive use before its scheduled demolition this summer. NMU has made the defunct building available to the City of Marquette Fire Department for live fire training, beginning next week and continuing for about four weeks. Smoke will be visible during isolated periods. Marquette City Fire Chief Tom Belt says this is a unique opportunity for firefighters to engage in a variety of firefighting skill under real conditions. University officials say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the entire department to conduct very realistic training in a building of this nature. Site preparation work for the Carey Hall demolition is scheduled to begin later in June.
Legislation maintaining funding for the operation of The Bay Pines Center in Escanaba is being praised by a Upper Michigan lawmaker. 108-th District State Representative Ed McBroom says he’s pleased a measure continuing the funds for the housing of juvenile offenders was approved by the Legislature’s joint conference committee on the Department of Health Services budget. The recommendation reduces juvenile facility funding by $2 million but maintains operation of Bay Pines and two other facilities in the stat. The Vulcan Republican voted against an original version of the budget that eliminated funding for the facilities completely. The budget language now must be approved by the full House and Senate before it goes to the governor for final consideration.