The couple moved to Carroll County five years ago from northern California and own an 8-and-a-half acre plot at the foot of a tree-covered hill.
The Burgers had left Harrison at 2 p.m. and had seen smoke as far away as Carrolton. The closer the couple got to their home, the larger the smoke cloud grew.
"It was very disheartening," Tina Burger said. "My initial reaction was panic when I saw the smoke. When we realized it had been on the hill (by our house), I started getting the important things together into a backpack."
Burger said that National Forest Service rangers asked them to be ready in case evacuation was necessary.
"We were running around making arrangements," she said. "I called my mother and told her to pray."
The Burgers, who remodeled their home two years ago, watched as a helicopter tanker poured water on the hillside treeline above their home and Alpena firefighters racked the wooded areas for patches of fire.
"They told us the fire wasn't encroaching, but when we walked to our fence line, I was amazed how much of an area on our side was burned," Tina Burger said. "There were still hot spots burning."
For two hours, she carried 5-gallon buckets of water around the property, putting out the hot spots. Her husband drove a tractor and graded the edge of the property to stop a potential flare-up.
"I was mainly putting out embers and flames, but the further I got on our property the more burnt it was," she said.
She felt safer when the forest rangers cut a path through the fence on the Burgers property to bulldoze the wide fireline path.
"We realized the danger was over," Burger recalled, clearly relieved.
"It's heartbreaking. We were given the impression that we didn't get that much burned, but it was a disaster."