21,000 acres ablaze in Michigan

Published: Saturday, May 26 2012 10:25 p.m. MDT

This photo provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources shows a wildfire in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The fire grew by 17 percent to more than 21,000 acres Saturday, May 26, 2012, as officials warned of tough conditions and welcomed help from water-dumping aircraft from the Michigan National Guard. (AP Photo/Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

Associated Press

NEWBERRY, Mich. — A wildfire in Michigan's Upper Peninsula grew by 17 percent to more than 21,000 acres Saturday as officials warned of tough conditions and welcomed help from water-dumping aircraft from the Michigan National Guard.

Wind gusts were predicted at 15 mph and high temperatures were in the 60s in a dry, remote part of the state where access has been tricky because there are few roads. Tahquamenon Falls State Park, a popular destination for campers seven miles from the fire, was closed.

The fire, known as the Duck Lake Fire, was 20 percent contained in Luce County, about 75 miles northeast of the Mackinac Bridge, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said. The fire was described as long and narrow, stretching 11 miles north to Lake Superior.

Fewer than 100 people were evacuated, said Dean Wilson, a fire management team spokesman.

More than 40 structures have been threatened and at least six are lost. It's not clear whether they were homes or outbuildings. Wilson said he didn't have an update Saturday.

"Structure protection is high priority and is being closely monitored from the air. ... Potential for blow-up conditions" continues, the Department of Natural Resources said in a statement.

The Rainbow Lodge, which includes a campground, motel and cabins near Lake Superior, was closed. A recorded message by co-owner Kathy Robinson said she had been evacuated and that the property may have been damaged.

"I'm sorry," she said.

Some people more than 100 miles away in the northern Lower Peninsula reported smelling smoke. The Michigan National Guard dispatched four aircraft and 40 people to the Duck Lake fire and another in Schoolcraft County.

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