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Huge Plume Of Smoke From Controlled Burn Raises Alarm During Boating Event

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Smoke is seen from near the Lake St. Clair shoreline in Harrison Township. (credit: Kathryn Larson/WWJ)

Smoke is seen from near the Lake St. Clair shoreline in Harrison Township. (credit: Kathryn Larson/WWJ)

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – A huge plume of smoke filled the sky over Macomb and St. Clair counties on Friday…but fear not. It was just a Michigan Department of Natural Resources controlled burned on Strawberry Island.

WWJ Newsradio 950 received more than a dozen calls from concerned citizens about the fire, as the smoke could be seen from miles away.

Peggy Schley, who lives in the area, said it was a bad day for the burn with thousands of people enjoying the annual “Jobbie Nooner” boating party on Lake St. Clair.

“It’s probably a little alarming for anybody that has friends or relatives out there on the lake right now,” Schley told WWJ’s Kathryn Larson.

She may be right: One caller told WWJ that he’d heard a boat exploded.

“I think they did it [the burn] because of the wind; they factor the wind and stuff and they figured it was a calm day … But it may be because they want to keep the Jobbie Nooners at bay,” Schley said, with a laugh.

Schley said, with her lot butting up to the shoreline, she’d been telling people stopping to gawk at the smoke to stay calm.

DNR officials say safety is always the top priority during controlled burns.  For information from the state about DNR controlled burns, visit this link.

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