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UPPCO and DNR deal with downed lines, fires and wind damage

Gusts were in excess of 30 miles per hours most of the day Monday.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:14 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Cleanup continues from Monday’s high winds in Upper Michigan.

Winds in excess of 30 miles per hour, at times reaching 60 miles per hour, knocked over power poles, starting small fires and long electric outages. As a result, trees and power lines are still down across Upper Michigan Tuesday.

“UPPCO saw as many as 5,500 customers that were affected and were out of power at any point in time,” UPPCO Vice President of Business Development and Communications Brett French said.

UPPCO added that it responded to 370 total locations with damaged electrical equipment, 242 of them were in Marquette County. “The highest winds and the greatest amount of damage occurred here in the central portion of the Upper Peninsula or the broader Marquette County area,” French said.

UPPCO said crews are still working to restore power for those still without it as of Tuesday afternoon. The power company added it was ready to deal with these wind damages. “Utility companies like UPPCO tend to follow the weather forecast very closely,” French said. “We were well prepared to respond to the winds and go out and work the trouble spots.”

The DNR said it dealt with brush fires all day Monday, many from downed power lines. The department added that fire departments across Upper Michigan responded to even more.

“There were 14 fires in the U.P. that the DNR suppressed,” DNR U.P. Fire Specialist Keith Murphy said. “The volunteer fire departments responded to many more, upwards of 50, 60 calls yesterday, all from downed power lines.”

The DNR said it also responded to fires in Dickinson and Chippewa Counties Tuesday morning. It added that crews worked across the U.P. for most of Tuesday to ensure more didn’t start. “A lot of fires are still getting worked Tuesday morning because it’s so dry,” Murphy said. “It is burning down in the ground a little bit; stumps are burning, large logs are burning.”

The DNR asked anyone who wants to burn to check its burn permits management system online. Updated daily at 10:00 a.m. ET, it will let you know if burning is allowed for the day.

The DNR said burning permission will be limited until the rain starts to pick up and more green grass grows to replace the straw that is currently on the ground in most places.

Not burning when the DNR prohibits doing so will limit the fire risk in your area.

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