A truck loaded with charcoal caught fire Tuesday morning on US-23, just south of Hyne Road in Brighton Township, causing a grass fire that forced the closure of the northbound lanes of the freeway.

Brighton Fire Chief Mike O’Brian says the fire began around 9am when the trucks brakes caught fire and spread into the cab. Because of the windy, dry conditions, the resulting fire quickly spread to about 40 acres east of the freeway, but was under control within about an hour. However, it was more than four hours before the freeway was fully reopened.

The National Weather Service had issued a Red Flag warning for all of southeast Michigan, in effect until 8pm Tuesday. It was issued because any fires that developed would likely spread rapidly due to steady winds and wind gusts, rising temperatures and low relative humidity.

Outdoor burning was strongly discouraged, with many local fire departments instituting burn bans, including the Brighton Area Fire Authority, which covers the City of Brighton and Genoa and Brighton townships; the Green Oak Township Fire Department and the Hartland/Deerfield Fire Authority.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire. Photo provided by Brighton Area Fire Authority. (JK)