GRAYLING — Firefighters are working to contain a fire that’s roaring through hundreds of wooded acres west of Grayling.

The fire started at about 3:30 p.m. after a spark from a passing train ignited the grass, said Dennis Robinson, assistant director of Crawford County’s emergency management office.

U.S. 127 and I-75 are closed near Four Mile Road and residents are evacuating a nursing home and roughly 100 homes in Karen Woods Subdivision, Robinson said.

Evacuees who need to head south are advised to take M-72 to M-18, he said.

“It’s a large, very large fire,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s as large as the one we had 15 years ago.”

Department of Natural Resources officials said the blaze quickly covered more than 700 acres.

Steve Southard has owned the Fly Factory and Ray’s Canoe Livery in the heart of Grayling for nearly 30 years. Sirens blared in the background as he spoke about the blaze over the phone.

“It was moving like hell,” he said.

Strong winds blew smoke over downtown for a period, Southard said, and he prepared hoses in case burning embers fell on his shop.

“When the fire started, the smoke was blowing right over us,” Southard said.

Southard said he wasn’t told to leave his shop, but some gas stations in town were shut down, he said.

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