Fire in northern Michigan caused by escaped controlled burn on military base

According to a spokeswoman from the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Range 9 fire was caused by a “controlled pre-burn” which got out of control on Camp Grayling. Major Dawn Dancer said the Department of Natural Resources and Environment was aware of the controlled burn “and ok’d it”. After igniting the burn at noon on May 18, a day with Red Flag warnings in the area, the wind increased at around 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. and the burn got out of control. After it burned about 1,200 acres, most of them on the military base, the fire was controlled by 9 p.m. the same day. It is believed that four privately owned summer cottages outside the base were destroyed.

Another fire that started on the same day in northern Michigan, the Meridian Boundary fire, is still uncontrolled and has burned about 7,520 acres.

We have never heard of a “controlled pre-burn”, but judging from the context in information provided by the military, a “pre-burn” appears to be a prescribed burn, or controlled burn. The personnel at Camp Grayling conduct an average of 20 pre-burns each year at Camp Grayling. So far this year they have successfully completed eight pre-burns for a total of 9,000 acres.

Here is a map of the Range 9 fire that started on Camp Grayling.

Map range 9 fire Camp Grayling
Click to see a larger version

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.