Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fire Expands while Forestry Officials Entertain the Governor

By Monday day four of the Cavity Lake Fire USFS official's confirmed the fire had expanded to over 14,000 acres and consumed all, but a small portion of the shoreline including most of the islands of Seagull and all of Alpine Lake. Only a narrow strip near the Gunflint Trail was not burnt

During the USFS' Monday morning fire briefing Dennis Nietzke stated the following, on day one of the fire we spotted it and began to attack it. Day two we mounted our initial all-out attack on it with several water bombers, on day four, here we are (Monday) after the last night when the fire exploded and expand across the lake to as far as Miles Island.

When Nietzke was asked what happen to day three, He responded that starting about four PM water bombers went on the attack again that day. Then he was ask what about before four PM when the fire was still confined below the ridge line and before the heavy winds that the weather services were predicting for the area that evening. Nietzke stated both the Governor and Congressman Oberstar had come to view the fire and "we had to deal with them."

The question asked at the briefing but never answered by fire officials was why did they not continue their attack on the fire on the morning of day three and why did they waited until four in the afternoon when it was do late to resume the water bombing of the fire.

Many at Monday's fire briefing, particularly Seagull Lake residents feel they know the answer to that question- Fire officials wanted to see what little shoreline of the lake that had not been burnt by previous fires, consumed by this fire. This feeling of course was boaster by numerous announcements and statement over the preceding days by Forest Service officials that this fire was within a planned pre-scripted burn area (the Acorn Unit) and they wanted it to be burnt anyways. Therefore , did the Forest Service intentional ignore the fire during day three because they wanted this area to burn? If this was their strategy they succeed the looser of course are the resident and business around the lake.

Another question - why was the Forest Service officials on Saturday assure campers on the seagull Lake islands that it was safe and that the fire posed no threat. See article- "Paddlers escape, shaken but safe, from wind-swept flames," in the Duluth News Tribune.


At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the author of this blog statement concerning the Forestry Service and the District Ranger is absurd. They aren't permitted nor would they want to purposely "ignore" the fire. They have a million eyes on them and are trying to deal with the cost of all of this while juggling outfitter, tourist, politcian, media and forest needs. Get off your high horse and think about the gravity of the situation for a change. Then, I suppose you have all the answers.

At 6:17 AM, Blogger Gunflint said...

Response To "anonymous" from Ted Young, Author of "Fire expands...."

If you were at the Cavity Lake first fire briefing at the Seagull Lake Fire Hall on July 17-Day 4 of the fire you would have heard, Dennis Nietzke, Gunflint District Ranger response to the question, "what actions they had taken on day three of the fire? His response was the Governor and Congressman Oberstar had come to view the fire and "we had to deal with them."

Further, none of the fire officials at the Monday briefing were willing to give any plausible answers to the question as to why the all assault on the fire by water bomber which had begun on Saturday, was not pursued the following day until just before the fire blow-up at about 4:00 PM?

The question others and I are raising is why was the "all out" assault on the fire not continued between sun-up and about 4:00 PM on Sunday- day three of the fire? Was this decision made because the fire was within the Accord Prescribed Burn Unit, which they planned to burn anyway?

And sure "the whole world was watching" but since when has that ever stopped public officials from making dumb decisions?

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Sarah Hamilton said...

Absurd is the qoute made by the officials.
A full invesigation should be demanded by the entire community.
If it was not for rain,the A- Team and millions of dollars, our homes would be lost.
If a bad desicion was made. Everyone has a right to know. And if it is so. The people responsible should be fired from positions of power.


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