CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) – A total of about 70 homes near Grayling were evacuated Thursday as firefighters battled a fire in privately owned jack pine stands in Crawford County, Michigan.

The M-72 Fire, estimated at about 105 acres, was reported at approximately 5 p.m. along M-72 between Stephan Bridge Road and S. Horseshoe Trail, about 8 miles east of Grayling. The fire, which burned a swath about 1 mile long and 0.2 miles wide, was contained around 8:30 p.m.

Evacuated residents were able to return to their homes shortly after 9 p.m. Two outbuildings were destroyed.

Despite recent rain in the northern Lower Peninsula, after a few days of dry conditions, sunny skies and warmer temperatures, the fire danger in Grayling was high Thursday. Jack pine is one of the most prevalent tree species in the Grayling area and its seeds are released by fire, making it very fire-prone. It was this combination of weather and fuels that led to the M-72 Fire.

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