While many enjoyed a long Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of firefighters in Luce County battled one of Michigan's worst wildfires. The Duck Lake wildfire is, as of Tuesday, only 47 percent contained, with an estimate of 21,694 acre burned.
It was far from a weekend holiday as crews from Hayward, Wisc. joined more than 230 crew members already battling the Duck Lake wildfire.
"It's amazing how well we can interface together and work safely together," said Kim Lemke, a forest ranger with the Department of Natural Resources.
Strong winds and little rain Monday afternoon caused a blow up on a portion of the fire that forced firefighters to retreat to safety.
"They were in danger from the advancing fire front," said Dean Wilson, a DNR public information officer.
But it's still a major setback for a blaze where more than 95 structures were flattened, some of them near Pike Lake. TV6 was unable to show the aftermath, as many property owners have not yet been notified. Just north of Pike Lake the fire has burned out most of the area, however, some hot spots are likely to flare up because a few miles south, the fire is still very much alive.
Fire lines along the north flank have kept the area secure, but the south remains critical as much of the land is swampy and difficult to get to. After seven days of nonstop battle, crews in the heart of the fire are now draining nearby bodies of water and energy.
"It's tiring, but you have an extremely dedicated crew of people in here, and I haven't seen anyone give up," said firefighter Glen Pittman, from the Newberry Fire Department. "They're giving 110 percent for the entire 12 hours they're in here and the next day they show up again, and they're giving 110 percent."
Back where miles of trails and Jack pine flourished in Luce County, only black remains.