Seven million dollars later, it will go down as the third largest wildfire in Michigan.
By Jerry Hume - WLUC - TV 6 MARQUETTE
Monday, August 04, 2008 at 2:35 p.m.
NEWBERRY -- Last year at this time we were just getting word of a huge wildfire burning north of Newberry.
As we would find out, it became the massive 18,000 acre Sleeper Lake Wildfire. Seven million dollars later, the Sleeper Lake Fire in Luce County will go down as the third largest wildfire in Michigan's history.
Firefighters battled the blaze throughout the month of August, facing erratic winds and tough terrain. Plus it caused the evacuation of residents and closed roads.
Whatever firefighters needed, the Red Cross and community members were there to help.
"This community was just wonderful,” said Mary Archambeau with the Red Cross.“They all pulled together to try and make it the best. The way we felt is that they were saving our town, so they became part of our family."
Now today in 2008, you may see a charred stump here or there, but for the most part, it's green.
The DNR credits most of the rehabilitation to nature taking its course.
"We blocked off vehicle access to most of the areas,” said Les Homan with the DNR in Newberry.“The whole area is open to foot access for people who like to come, but there is limited vehicle access to allow areas that were burned and the fire lines to begin to rehabilitate."
The DNR says they learned several new tactics in firefighting last year, strategies they can use in the future if there's ever a fire like Sleeper Lake again.
END WLUC TV 6 Story