Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ham Lake Fire Udate- Tuesday

Poplar Lake Area- One half inch of rain fell yesterday morning and damping rain fell again this morning which should at least help to cool down the fire a bit. The fire has now consumed some 134 structures and burnt-over 74,814 acres in the US and Canada as of yesterday.

The Poplar Lake-Little Ollie residents and businesses that were evacuated on Thursday (May 10) were able to return on Saturday. However the evacuation remains in effect for all beyond Voyageurs Point on the west end of Poplar Lake. Trail Center store is open but the restaurant is closed to the public but serving fire fighters.

The following is additional fire information from Great Basin Incident Management Team 1May 14, 2007, 6:00 PM

Current Status American aerial and ground resources are being utilized in a unified effort with Canadian counterparts. The American operation is being managed by Paul Broyles' Type 1 National Incident Management Team (IMT). The Canadian Type 1 IMT is now in place at Sandstone Lake in Ontario.Good progress was made on the Ham Lake Fire today; there was no significant growth in the fire perimeter. The south, the southwest, and the west flanks of the fire continue to hold. Significant direct-line progress was completed on the south flank of the fire finger from the Iron Lake area to Gunflint Lake. The west side of this flank did move some to the west toward Bedew Lake; however crews were able to get containment lines around the bulge. The burnout that was planned for the northern part of the east flank of the finger west of Susana Lake yesterday was canceled; direct attack tactics were utilized. Also, spots on Three-Mile Island are being worked; and plumbing lines installed. In addition, the first island north of Red Pine Island has fire now.Canadian forces continue to focus on three geographic areas: 1) east flank, where a burnout is tentatively planned for today from south of Beulah Lake toward Little Gunflint Lake; 2) structural protection in the Saganaga Lake area; and 3) securing the north end of the fire between Saganaga Lake and Spoon Lake. The Canadian IMT evacuated seven Americans from the Canadian side of the border on Saganaga Lake (Red Pine Island). There have been 14 structures confirmed lost Thursday on the north side of Gunflint Lake and one on Red Pine Island in Canada.One hundred, thirty-three (133) total structures were lost in the first few days of the incident in the U.S. Sixty-one were residences, 17 were commercial, and 55 were outbuilding and other structures. Their estimated value remains at $3.7 million. An estimated 200 residences and over 20 commercial operations remain threatened.Also, the power company is working on restoring power to the main lines.Estimated Acreage/ containmentAcres burned: 74,814 acres. 36,443 acres are in the United States; 38,371 acres are in Canada. Containment is now estimated at 20% for the entire fire. U.S. portion of the fire is estimated at 50%. Projected containment date: May 20, 2007Resources on the Fire/CostsCrews: 32 (6 Canadian) Helicopters: 13 (7 Canadian) Engines: 66 Water tenders: 3 Dozers: 8 Available upon Demand: Medium Air Tankers 3 Heavy Air tankers - 2 Personnel: 1,091 (includes Canada) Costs: $5,975,656 Note: All figures as of 1700 hours May 14.CooperatorsCooperators include Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department, Cook County, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, American Red Cross, Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Weather Service, and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.Evacuations and Public MeetingsThe cautionary evacuation order for the area along the Gunflint Trail between Gunflint #1 (7401 Gunflint Trail) and Swamper Lake was lifted by the Cook County Sheriff yesterday morning. Also, the mandatory evacuation order for the area between Poplar Lake Fire Station and Voyageur Point (Cook County 85) was lifted. A mandatory evacuation order remains in effect for the west end Gunflint Trail (Cook County 85) and all roadways off of it to the north and west of Voyageur Point.Public informational meetings will be held today in Grand Marais, MN at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts, at 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. An informational meeting will also be held at the Poplar Lake Fire Station (Gunflint VFD #1) at 5:00 p.m. These meetings will continue on this schedule for the foreseeable future unless announced otherwise on WTIP Radio, the local Grand Marais FM station.Closures and restrictionsFor current information on closures for the Superior National Forest, including the BWCAW and Trails End Campground. Fire restrictions are in effect for Cook, Lake, and St. Louis counties. Under these restrictions the following are prohibited: recreational fires (except gas and propane fired camp stoves and grills), welding, acetylene torches, or other devices with open flames.Incident plans for tomorrowTomorrow, suppression resources will continue to utilize direct suppression tactics, further secure and hold containment lines, provide continued structural protection, particularly in the Gunflint and Loon lakes areas, and begin mop-up operations. Crews will also continue line construction from Gunflint Trail north past the east end of Mayhew Lake to Topper Lake to the Canadian border on the east side of the fire in coordination with the Canadian IMT. In addition, crews will continue to construct direct line south from the Gunflint trail to the south of Rush Lake. Fire suppression actions will continue on the north end of the fire near Saganaga Lake. Two strike teams (5 engines each) and several dozers are scheduled for release tomorrow.Fire weatherLate yesterday evening, light rain (0.1") fell on the fire in the Seagull Guard Station area. Gunflint Lodge received 0.09"; 0.5" fell at Trail Center. Unfortunately, some lightning also accompanied the showers. Fire suppression forces will be monitoring strike areas from the air and ground. A front will pass through later today, ushering in a drier and cooler air mass. Northwest winds will follow the front into Tuesday. Winds will be 8-14 mph. Temperatures will be in the high 50s; humidity will be in the low 40s.Fire and Other InformationA Joint Information Center (JIC) is open in Grand Marais, MN at the Court House in the Commissioner's Office (218-387-3401). The Cook County Sheriff has established a homeowner hot line for landowners in the evacuated area. The number is 218-387-3093. Please note the new Ham Lake Fire Information Center number is 801-413-0589. Fire Websites: <http://www.inciweb.org/ is the primary location for information on the Ham Lake Fire. Additional fire information can be found at mnics.org. and hamlakefire.com.

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