October 24, 2014

Wooded area fire doused quickly

Tim Barnum
The Twining-Mason-Turner Fire Department, the Omer-Arenac Fire Department and the DNR Fire Department responded to a fire on Jose Road April 3.
Kevin Bunch
A DNR truck and bulldozer is parked along the edge of Jose Road.
Tim Barnum
A firefighter prepares to leave the scene of a fire on Jose Road in Arenac Township.
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ARENAC TWP. — A fire in the woods northwest of Omer was contained and handled within an hour April 3 due to the quick action of the people calling it in and the fire department, according to Omer-Arenac Fire Chief Brian Leja.

The fire was called in at approximately 1:30 p.m. on the south side of Jose Road when a campfire spread out of control. The people camping quickly called 911, and the Omer-Arenac, Mason-Twining-Turner, and Department of Natural Resources fire departments responded.

“They were having a campfire out in the woods, roasting marshmallows and they thought the wind had died down enough (for the fire to be safe),” Leja said.

No injuries were reported from the fire.

Leja said the firefighters were on scene for a little more than an hour, and they did a good job controlling the blaze.

“We were just making sure everything was cleaned up. We had stumps that burned, and there was old rotten stuff that burned a bit, and that takes it some time,” Leja said. “You get the perimeter taken care of first, and then take care of the interior to make sure (the fire) doesn’t start up again.”

He said the dry ground conditions coupled with strong winds could have made for a very large and dangerous forest fire if the callers had not alerted the firefighters so quickly. Leja added this time of year is a bad one for campfires.

“At this time of year, even though the ground is wet, everything on top of it is dry ground and it is not safe to burn,” he said.

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