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U.S. Forest Service investigating how prescribed burn in Iosco County became wildfire

U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service has opened an investigation into how a prescribed burn in northeastern Michigan escaped control and became a wildfire last week.

The Brittle Fire spread through the Huron-Manistee National Forests and has now burned more than 4,000 acres, said forest service spokesperson Joshua Veal.

Any time a controlled burn becomes a wildfire, the agency requires an investigation, Veal said.

“We desire to learn as much as we can from these events, just like everybody else. Part of making sure that we maximize our learning is to make sure that we have the most accurate information. That’s why we’re going to follow the required process,” said Veal.

The forest service said strong winds that were not in the weather forecast spread the fire beyond containment lines, but Veal said the agency wants to learn more. He said the investigation will be comprehensive and will include findings about why initial efforts to suppress the spreading fire were ineffective.

“It’s designed for everybody, Forest Service-wide, from here to California, to learn, so that they can see what was planned, the forecasted weather, the weather that happened and a whole variety of things,” Veal said.

The forest service said crews were still fighting the fire on Friday. Veal said it was about 98 percent contained.

Brett joined WCMU in February, 2021, as a general assignment reporter. He was previously the health reporter at WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y., and has filed stories for National Public Radio, IEEE Spectrum, The Village Voice and other outlets.
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