Saturday, May 05, 2007

Fanned by Strong Winds Ham Lake Fire Crosses Mine Lake

The Ham Lake fire was first reported to the Cook County Sheriff at approximately 11:30 this morning. Tuscarora Lodge has been evacuated and two water bombers were dropping water around the perimeter of the Lodge. One out building has been lost and several other buildings are threatened at the lodge.

Strong northeasterly winds were fanning the fire. As of 2:30 this afternoon the fire had crossed Mine Lake, a distance of about three miles. While the cause of the fire is as yet undetermined several Gunflint District foresters confirmed that the fire appears to have started on a campsite on the northwest end of Ham Lake. There was no campfire ban in place when the fire was spotted. Conditions in the forest are extremely dry and the "green-up" is just getting underway.

For many years Ron (last name unknown) has lived during the summer in a tent camp located near Mine Lake. While he spends his winter in Minneapolis, Ron normally returns to the Gunflint at about the time ice goes out in the spring. He has been seen this spring hitch-hiking up the Gunflint to his campsite. According to a USFS spokesperson, as of late this afternoon Ron's whereabouts are unknown and plan to search for him has been drawn-up.

The fire is currently being managed by the Gunflint Ranger District-USFS.

A type II fire team has been activated, and will be arriving this evening to take charge. The Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department is on the scene also.

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