$1.9M spent so far on U.P. fire, control not seen until Sept.

$1.9M spent so far on U.P. fire, control not seen until Sept.

13 August 2007

published by www.mlive.com

MI, USA — The cost of fighting the 29-square-mile Sleeper Lake wildfire in remote, swampy Upper Peninsula forest land is $1.9 million and rising, and the blaze probably won’t be fully contained until mid-September, officials say.

The fire remained 50 percent contained Monday, and some of the 221 firefighters were able to work on mopping up the fire in areas where the perimeter is secure, said John Pilon, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The fire jumped the control lines in two spots Monday, but crews were able to beat it back, he said. Pilon said that overall, the blaze remained relatively stable during the day.

“So much is contingent on the weather,” Pilon said from the DNR’s field office in Newberry. “They’re looking at containment of this fire probably mid-September.”

Authorities already have spent $1.9 million on the blaze, Pilon said. He described the effort as “very difficult,” with many area accessible only to hand crews.

“If we’re lucky, the weather will cooperate and we’ll get some heavy rains that will really knock it out,” he said.

A lightning strike is suspected of starting the wildfire Aug. 2. The fire is in the Lake Superior State Forest in Luce County, about 55 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie and about 300 miles north of Detroit.

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