DNR crews battling 1,000-acre wildfire southeast of Grayling

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DNR News

June 3, 2023
Media contact: Laurie Abel, 517-599-6703 or Kerry Heckman, 517-643-1256

DNR crews battling wildfire southeast of Grayling

DNR firefighters and local partners are battling a 1,000-acre wildfire in Crawford County. The fire is located about 4 miles southeast of Grayling in Grayling Township, near Staley Lake Road. 

The wildfire is moving to the west and southwest and threatens multiple buildings. Evacuations are being conducted by emergency personnel. Shelter for evacuees is available at the Grayling Middle School gymnasium, 500 Spruce Street in Grayling, and the Beaver Creek Township Hall, 8888 S. Grayling Road. 

Multiple closures are in place:

  • Northbound and southbound lanes of I-75 between 4 Mile Road Exit 251 to Down River Road Exit 256 are closed. 
  • Staley Lake Road from M-72 to 4 Mile Road is closed.
  • Wilderness Trail from Keystone Landing Road to Staley Lake Road is closed.
  • Staley Lake Beach and Neff Lake Beach are closed.

Avoid the area to give crews room to work on suppressing the fire. A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place for a 5-mile perimeter around the fire at heights below 5,000 feet. Do not fly aircraft or drones in this area.

The wildfire has produced an abundance of smoke. Visibility may be reduced on roadways – drive with care in affected areas. Limit exposure to wildfire smoke by staying indoors with windows shut, especially if you have asthma or another respiratory condition. 

Michigan State Police, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, South Branch Fire Department and Beaver Creek Fire Department personnel are assisting the DNR with fighting the fire.

Ground crews, heavy equipment, a Michigan State Police helicopter, and four USDA Forest Service fire boss planes and a Type 1 helicopter have been assigned to help suppress the fire. Aircraft will scoop water from Neff Lake, Shellenbarger Lake and Lake Margrethe. 

The fire cause has not yet been determined.

Michigan is currently experiencing unprecedented hot and dry conditions for this time of year, causing extreme fire danger. The DNR recommends these actions to reduce the risk of wildfire: 

  • Never leave a fire unattended, even for a moment.
  • Check first to see if conditions permit open burning at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit.
  • Always put fires out completely with water. Drench, stir with a shovel and drench again. 
  • Don't park hot equipment over dry grass on the roadside, which can ignite. 
  • More information is available at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires

The DNR will share fire updates via news releases and on the department Twitter account at Twitter.com/MichiganDNR.