LANSING, Mich.— A resolution to urge the president of the United States to declare a major disaster or emergency for areas in Michigans Upper Peninsula impacted by the Duck Lake wildfire was adopted by the Michigan Senate Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba.
“This resolution requests that the federal government do its duty in protecting the people of Michigan by aiding our residents in extinguishing the blazes in the Duck Lake area,” Casperson said.
The Duck Lake fire in Luce County began May 24, following a lightning strike. As of June 6, the wildfire has covered 21,112 acres and destroyed 49 cabins and homes, including a motel and store, 23 garages, 38 sheds and 26 campers. Michigans third largest wildfire has caused extensive damage and irreparably changed peoples lives.
State Rep. Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine, who is the author of the House version of the resolution- House Resolution 294, up for vote in the House today, thanked residents from his area for their testimony.
“Its important for legislators and state officials to have a common understanding of the devastation that has taken place,” Huuki said. “I want to thank Philip Nelson, Newberry fire chief; Mary Archambeau, Newberry Help Center coordinator; and Kevin Vanatta and Cathy Robinson, both local business owners.”
Huuki supports resolutions that draw attention for the people affected by the fire.
“I support and will advocate for measures to gain federal recognition of Duck Lake as a disaster area,” Huuki said. “For the sake of the wildlife and the residents, the president must swiftly respond.”
Gov. Snyder had already declared a state of disaster in Luce and Schoolcraft counties on May 25 to make all state resources available to fight the fire. In addition, the governor activated the National Guard to provide assistance.
Senate Resolution 158 urges the president to use federal resources to supplement the already exhausted state and local resources.
“Many of us in the Duck Lake area have lost all of our possessions and homes for this fire,” said Mary Archambeau, Duck Lake area resident. “My main concern is that we get this fire put out by any means possible.”
Archambeau was later spotted distributing what small amount of equipment and food she had salvaged from her home to the many firefighters working tirelessly with the effort.
“We often get fires here in the Upper Peninsula, but none of this magnitude,” said Jackie Robinson, whose Rainbow Lodge and home was burned in the fire. “I simply hope that the governor, president or whomever else, can get this fire under control so we can start the rebuilding effort.”
SR 158 will be transmitted to the President of the United States, the regional administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the members of the Michigan congressional delegation and the governor.