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Rain Aids UP Wildfire Fight As Residents Return

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The owners of the popular Rainbow Lodge, near the mouth of the Two Hearted River, recently toured their property with DNR fire officials, and sadly, this is all that remains. (Credit: Michigan DNR/Facebook Photo)

The owners of the popular Rainbow Lodge, near the mouth of the Two Hearted River, recently toured their property with DNR fire officials, and sadly, this is all that remains. (Credit: Michigan DNR/Facebook Photo)

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NEWBERRY (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it’s making good progress battling an Upper Peninsula wildfire as some people return to their homes.

Department spokesman Dean Wilson said the return of roughly 20 residents Saturday has been going well in several Luce County communities. He said the roads are still closed except to residents and they must check in and out with authorities.

Wilson said the wildfire that’s consumed 21,135 acres is 71 percent contained – up from Friday’s reported 63 percent. He credits rain for cooling down the fire and allowing crews to make progress.

The fire is long and narrow and stretches 11 miles to the north to Lake Superior. There are currently 44 miles of fireline. Of that, 6 miles is Lake Superior shoreline, 23 miles is completed line (that includes County Road 500), and 15 miles is uncontained fireline. Access remains very difficult with few roads. A total of 138 structures have been lost.

The rain has created hazards such as muddy roads and bad footing for firefighters. But overall he said it’s more of a help than a hindrance.

The DNR strongly encourages all residents and visitors in all parts of the state to avoid open burning and use of any fireworks during this extremely high fire-danger season to minimize the possibility of more wildfires.

For wildfire prevention tips, and for information on what is and is not permissible under the outdoor burning ban, visit www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.

Photo Gallery: Wildfires Wreak Havoc In Upper Peninsula

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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