Three Men Charged in Wildfire at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan

Three Michigan men have been charged with causing a wildfire that burned six acres and damaged Isle Royale National Park, a remote, rugged archipelago in Lake Superior, in 2022, the authorities said.

According to the charging documents, the men, Dylan Kenneth Wagner, 29; Jason Arden Allard, 28; and Scott Warren Allard, 30, started the fire when they were camping illegally in the park on Aug. 12-13, 2022, north of the junction of the Mount Franklin and Tobin Harbor trails.

“They camped illegally in an area too close to the trail and had a fire that was not in one of the metal rings or grills provided by the park,” the National Park Service said in a statement announcing the charges.

On the morning of Aug. 13, 2022, smoke was seen billowing over Isle Royale near the Three Mile campground, the Park Service said.

Officials said that the fire burned about six acres, “resulting in the emergency closure of multiple trails, campgrounds and docks.” A photo of the aftermath of the fire that park officials shared on Instagram on Thursday showed smoke rising from a ridge of scorched earth.

It took 13 days to fully contain the fire, which forced the closure of a number of trails and campgrounds. Several hikers and campers were evacuated, the Park Service said.

Wildland firefighters from two agencies across two states responded to the fire, and a single-engine air tanker from Minnesota scooped water from Lake Superior, “strategically dropping it over the fire,” the Park Service said.

Isle Royale National Park, which was established in 1940, is an island cluster in Lake Superior that is accessible only by ferry, seaplane or private boat. It is part of Michigan, but sits closer to the Minnesota shoreline and the Ontario border. The park’s 132,000 acres of land and waterways are popular with backpackers, hikers, boaters, paddlers and divers.

“Some of America’s most stunning places are right here in Michigan, including Isle Royale National Park,” Mark Totten, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan, said in the statement announcing the charges.

The men were each charged with one count of lighting, tending or using a fire causing damage to real property and one count of violating conditions established by the superintendent of the park, according to the Park Service statement. It was not immediately clear if the men had lawyers.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, up to five years of probation and mandatory restitution, Mr. Totten’s office said.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *