Worst Forest Fires In Michigan History
You’ve seen a lot of news coverage lately over the California forest fires. The cause for such catastrophic events range from drought, to lightning strikes and unfortunately, mostly by the careless behavior of mankind.
You might find this hard to believe but the state of Michigan has had its share of catastrophic forest fires as well. Granted thanks to modern fire fighting techniques and stricter lumbering guidelines and regulations the forest fires in Michigan are not nearly severe as they once were during the lumber era.
Here are some of Michigan's worst forest fires
The Port Huron Fire of 1871 – October 8th 1871
1.2 million acres in Michigan’s thumb area burned including the cities of White Rock and Port Huron in 1871. The thumb fire was part of the series of fires in the state at the time collectively known as the Great Michigan Fire. 50 people died in the Port Huron Fire and over 200 state-wide died
The Thumb Fire – Sept 5th, 1881:
Almost exactly 10 years to the date, the thumb area was once again the victim of a disastrous forest fire. This time over 2,000 structures burned down as the fire ravaged over a million acres. More deaths occurred this time as 282 people perished.
The Metz Fire – October of 1908
Over 300,000 acres burned in Michigan’s Presque Isle County including the Metz area. Hundreds of structures burned and 26 people lost their lives from the fire, although many were the result of a train that derailed after encountering twisted tracks thanks to the extreme heat from the forest fire.
The Mack Lake Fire – May 5th 1980
Tucked comfortably between Mio and Rose City, the Mack Lake area fire started out as tiny spotted fires but thanks to dry conditions and strong winds, quickly gained in size and steam and roared across M-33 heading east and burning over 44 homes and buildings. By the time the fire was contained one fire fighter fatality and one civilian burn injury had taken place.
The Duck Lake Fire – May 23rd 2012
21 thousand acres burned after lightning struck an area north of the village of Newberry in Michigan’s UP. Over 136 structures were destroyed by the fire but thankfully not one death reported. The Duck Lake fire is considered the 3rd largest fire in the state since 1881.
Check out this list for more state fires