NEWBERRY, Mich. – Homes and cabins make up a third of the nearly 100 structures destroyed by a wildfire burning across more than 30 square miles of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, officials said Monday.
The lost property includes Pike Lake Resort near Pike Lake in Luce County. The Rainbow Lodge at the mouth of the Two Hearted River, one of Ernest Hemingway's favorite streams, was badly damaged.
"I was still hoping that they would stop it," Pike Lake Resort owner Diane Ricketts said of the fire. "With my husband gone, I'm not going to rebuild. We're just going to go on and take it day by day and see what's going to happen."
The Duck Lake Fire began with a lightning strike last week and burned more than 22,000 acres, or 34 square miles, but was 51 percent contained by Monday, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Monday's firefighting effort was aided by rain — as much as an inch per hour — but wind and dry air caused the fire to gain momentum at the south end, said Dean Wilson, a spokesman for fire managers.
"We won't know what it will look like" until Tuesday morning, he said.
Parts of Michigan are extremely dry and thirsty for rain. Fireworks and outdoor burning have been banned in 49 of the state's 83 counties, especially in northern Michigan.
The DNR said 95 structures have been destroyed, including 34 homes or cabins. No injuries have been reported.
Fire managers gave an update to about 200 people Sunday in Newberry, the community closest to the fire, 75 miles northwest of the Mackinac Bridge. The strategy includes aircraft dumping water.
"I didn't know what to expect," said Dennis Nezich, a DNR spokesman. "People were very polite, they listened."
In Newberry, homemade signs popped up over the weekend thanking firefighters. "You Rock!!" said one. Another said, "Until every hero comes home." Some people have lined the streets to greet firefighters.
The DNR said Tahquamenon Area Girl Scouts donated $300 from a magazine recycling project to provide snacks.