The fire around Pike Lake in northern Luce County, Michigan has become increasingly dangerous as it reached 17,000 acres overnight, according to Department of Natural Resources officials.
Winds shifted early Friday morning, causing 50 mile an hour wind gusts to hit the fire and change directions of the blaze. Gary Willis, Public Information Officer for the DNR, says the east end of the fire is now the head of the fire and that there was zero containment as of Friday morning. Officials also say that flame heights reached 200 feet in some places.
The shift in winds caused law enforcement to flee the scene for safety. There are seven fire departments currently fighting the blaze with a total of 91 personnel, and an air attack plan has been established using one helicopter and two planes.
Officials expect wind gusts to reach 30 miles an hour on Friday, making for extremely dangerous conditions. They are warning people east of Pike Lake to be on high alert. Officials also say if you smell smoke or sense danger and live in that area, evacuate immediately. Do not wait for law enforcement to tell you to evacuate.
Currently 50 to 60 homes and camps have been evacuated from the Pike Lake and Little Lake areas. Officials are also planning to evacuate the upper and lower Tahquamenon Falls area. There is an American Red Cross shelter set up at the Newberry Youth Center in Newberry, Michigan.
Firefighters are working on evaluating property damage, and over 20 structures have been consumed by the blaze, according to Gary Willis of the DNR. Officials say their hearts go out to owners of camps and homes in the Pike Lake area.
Representative Dan Benishek expressed his concerns for U.P. residents as well.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the residents who have been displaced as well as the brave first responders who are working tirelessly to put out this fire," said Benishek.
We will be providing updated information as it comes in, so stay tuned to us on the air and online. If you have photos or video of the fire, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.