Fire in Lake Twp. destroys, damages property

LAKE TWP. — Members of the Lake Township, Baldwin and Carr Fire Departments, as well as representatives from the United States Forest Service, responded to a fire this past Sunday in Lake Township.

The fire began at about 2 p.m. on April 19 near Big Star Lake. Although there were no fatalities or serious injuries, the fire did result in the destruction of one cabin, and damage to another home, a trailer and a shed.

The departments believe the fire began when some seasonal residents were burning leaves and debris in their yard when they lost control of the blaze. The fire was started despite a previous warning issued by the USFS called a "burning ban," which prohibits fires in the area due to dangerously dry conditions.

"There was a burning ban in effect," said Lake County Sheriff Robert Hilts. "People have to understand they can't come up here to clean up their yard, ignore the ban and nearly burn half the forest down."

Hilts said Spring can be a dangerous time when it comes to fires. Dry leaves get exposed when the snow melts and create risky conditions that can cause fires to escalate quickly in a forested area like Lake County.

"When the Forest Service puts these burn bans into effect, they have to be followed," explained Hilts. "When the fires get so hot like this, they can be very hard to put out. We had one fire here 18 years ago started from a small camp fire, and we had to evacuate people from the area. This goes to show how dangerous, and potentially deadly, these fires can be."

No charges have been brought against those who started the fire.