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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

REPORT: DNR crews continue to work at 425-acre fire in Wexford County

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is continuing fire suppression efforts today on the Colfax Fire in northern Wexford County. The fire, which was reported shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, is currently estimated at 425 acres.

The fire is located about 5 miles northwest of Manton and 21 miles southeast of Traverse City. It is currently 70% contained, with a total fire perimeter estimated at 5.2 miles. Currently, 4.1 miles of the fire line perimeter has a containment line completed, with the remaining 1.1 miles in progress. The fire area is located east of 31 Road, west of 33 Road, north of 12 Road, and primarily south of 8 Road. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Red embers give a tree an unearthly glow as it burns during the Colfax Fire in Wexford County.

The fire area received about 0.1 inches of rain overnight, which aided the efforts of fire crews monitoring the fire throughout the night. Scattered rain showers in the vicinity of the fire this morning may have also assisted in fire suppression efforts. With temperatures increasing into the 70s, winds expected at 10 to 15 mph, and increased drying this afternoon, fire crews will work diligently to suppress any remaining fire activity and hot spots.

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Fire crews today will focus on constructing a dozer line to work toward fire containment and to access spot fires located in a swampy area. They also will monitor and patrol the fire area, mop-up, and begin cutting hazard trees.

Emergency responders from multiple agencies responded late Tuesday afternoon to engage in fire suppression and evacuation efforts, including 29 DNR firefighters, a DNR Incident Management Team, a DNR spotter (detection) airplane, DNR Law Enforcement, the U.S. Forest Service Air Attack team including four Fire Boss single-engine air tankers and one Type 1 helicopter.

Also assisting were numerous volunteer fire departments including Buckley, Paradise, Fife Lake/Springfield, Whitewater, Colfax/Greenwood, City of Manton, Blair, Green Lake, Homestead, Cherry Grove, Selma, Haring, Cedar Creek, South Branch and Boon. The Michigan State  Police, Wexford County Emergency Management and Grand Traverse County Emergency Management also assisted.

Thanks to the combined efforts of all cooperating agencies on Tuesday, including approximately 42,000 gallons of water dropped by aircraft, there was a reduced need for firefighters assigned to work on suppression efforts today. Presently, resources assigned to the Colfax Fire include 22 DNR firefighters, a DNR Incident Management Team, a DNR spotter airplane, and the Colfax/Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department.

The DNR reminds everyone to take precautions while doing yard work and engaging in outdoor activities this spring. Get a burn permit at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit and check local weather and fire danger before you burn debris. Other safety tips include burning debris in barrels with metal screens and clearing any vegetation around your burn area. Always have a source of water nearby when burning and never leave a fire unattended. Completely extinguish fires every time you burn. Find more tips and information at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires.

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