A friend invited me to a Partylite candle party last night in Grayling. Love Partylite candles so did not hesitate saying yes. She picked me up at 5 and we were on our way. Grayling is only 15 miles from my house no matter if we take the expressway or the back roads. We chose the backroads just because! We were having a good time chatting, laughing and wondering why 127 was closed northbound from Higgins Lake to Military Road. It has been closed for a couple days with "Emergency Detour" signs. Nothing on the news. No one seems to know. Wow. A great mystery. We proceed on.
We get to Military and 4 Mile Road and a State Trooper is there stopping traffic. He tells us we cannot continue on toward Camp Grayling. We have to turn on 4 Mile Road. OK. No problem. I75 is just a couple miles down 4 Mile Road. We get to the expressway and DOT is there telling us we must turn around and head back to Military Road. The entire town of Grayling is shut down due to a wild fire. "Where?" we ask. We don't see or smell smoke. We turn around and head back to Military Road. My friend calls the lady having the party and finds out it has been cancelled due to the Partylite rep having to be evacuated from her home. Well now. That's interesting.
We get stopped again by DOT asking where we are going. We tell him. He gives us a bit more info about the fire. It is burning about 1100 acres, the town is shut down, the expressways are shut down, you can't get there from here, go home. Hmmm.
We try to go home the way we came; down Military Road. The State Trooper turns us back to I75. We turn around and pull into a golf course parking lot about half way between Military and I75. She gets on her phone, I get on mine. I call my Mom. She knows everything that's going on around the state. (She watches way too much TV) Anyway, she tells me she's watching the news and they are showing air photos of the area and she can see the truck stop and hotel at 4 Mile and the fire is right up to the hotel. I tell her where I am, She tells me to get out of there because the fire is very close. She asks if I can see it? I'm looking everywhere and can't even see smoke. I get out of the car and look between the trees. Aw s#*t. There it is. My friend asks what I'm looking at. I tell her FIRE. "Let's go home." "Home NOW." "Start the car." She still can't see the fire. I grab her, push her back to the car and when she turns around to look, the words that came out of that sweet young thing's mouth amazed me. In a matter of seconds where there was no sign of smoke, no sign of flames, the fire was there. Right there.
We head back to Military Road. The Trooper tells us to go back down 4 Mile Road. I get out and tell him we are not going back that way, the fire is at the road. He asks which way we want to go, I tell him, he lets us. We are finally on our way home. A 15 mile trip takes us 2.5 hours.
It is amazing how fast fire moves. This area is all jackpine. The fire goes up a tree and then leaps from treetop to treetop. A fire like that is extremely difficult to control. The winds were blowing in the fire's favor, too. Gusting at 40 mph and coming from all directions.
We got home safe and sound. I hope everyone that was evacuated did the same. I cannot imagine how exhausted the firefighters are. They were on scene all day and night. Thankfully, we are getting some rain right now. A thunder storm is blowing in. I hope there is no lightening. We will problem take a ride up that way again this weekend once all the clean up is finished just to see the devastation.