Port Huron Times

Flashback – The Heroic Battle to Save Caseville, Michigan from a Raging Forest Fire – 1924

On a fateful November weekend in 1924, the small resort town of Caseville, Michigan, found itself on the brink of disaster. A massive forest fire, fueled by high winds and believed to have been started by careless hunters, was sweeping across Huron County. The Caseville forest fire threatened not only the town but also many surrounding villages and valuable Thumb property.

Community Bands Together to Fight Fire

In Front of LeBlanc’s Caseville – c1932

In the face of this danger, hundreds of brave men from nearby towns and villages answered Caseville’s call for help. They banded together, armed with fire apparatus and shovels, and fought tirelessly to save their neighbors’ homes. In a heroic effort, they used backfiring techniques to control the fire’s progress, working far into the night to ensure the village was safe by Sunday morning.

Survey Crew Trapped

While the fire raged on, surveyors from Bad Axe, who were working on a proposed federal scenic highway between Caseville and Port Austin, found themselves surrounded and trapped by the flames. These resourceful surveyors, led by John Barr, managed to escape by driving their truck along the water’s edge for half a mile until they reached safety.

The combined efforts of several village fire departments proved instrumental in the battle against the forest fire. They laid nearly a mile of hose to douse the roofs of houses and dampen the leaves and underbrush around the town. Firefighters from Bad Axe also provided crucial support with their chemical wagon, which was in constant action throughout the night.

Oak Beach Threatened

Loosemore Point Near Oak Beach

As the flames moved north of Caseville towards the Oak Beach resort, home to one of the last stands of virgin forest in the area, firefighters successfully stopped the fire from spreading by using a strip of roadway as a barrier. The wind’s direction change helped to push the fire away from the cottages, saving both the resort and the precious forest.

This event echoes the historical Great Michigan Fire of 1881, which burned over a million acres and caused immense destruction. Thankfully, the efforts of these valiant firefighters and community members in 1924 ensured that Caseville and its surrounding areas did not suffer a similar fate.

Village Saved From Caseville Forest Fire

After a long night of battling the fire, the combined efforts of these heroes had the flames under control by midnight on Saturday. Though fires continued to smolder and smoke filled the air, the residents of Caseville could finally breathe easier, knowing that their town had been saved from destruction. The burned district extended for 20 miles, but property damage was limited to fences and a few valuable trees, thanks to the tireless work of the firefighters.

Source: The Times Herald – Port Huron, Michigan · Monday, November 03, 1924

Michael Hardy

Mike Hardy is the owner of Thumbwind Publications LLC. It started in 2009 as a fun-loving site covering Michigan's Upper Thumb. Since then, he has authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 60,000 visitors per month.

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