Monday, May 07, 2007

News From the Fire Front

Yesterday Jim Raml and I worked on protecting the houses at the end of the Seagull Lake Road. We activated the sprinkler systems on the three home where we were working and started laying out garden hoses to protect Raml's house. At 10:40am three trucks of USFS/DNR fire fighters of about 5-6 people arrived to assist. They informed us the fire was headed our way. Fire hose lines where laid out and another pump was started to hose down where the sprinklers were not reaching.

At approximately 12:30 another DNR firefighter arrived and informed us we had about 2 1/2 hours until the fire arrived. About 15 minutes latter it started getting very warm around Raml's buildings where we were working at the time and suddenly fire appeared over the hill about fifty feet behind Raml's house. Jim ran to his house to get his cat and I was going to assist him. As I headed for the house I noted that the last firefighter that was assisting us was speeding off down the road. Even though they were order to evacuate no one even bother in inform Jim o r I.

We evacuated by boat, heading west down Seagull lake we spent then next 4-5 hours on a campsite on Three Miles island watching the fire at the east end of Seagull burn.

Finally we decided to return. As we traveled we could see that must of the south shore of Seagull that had not been burnt in previous fires was now gone- Meditation Lake was gone. And it appeared the fire was now traveling down through though Blankenburgs Landing. We were able to reach Raml's house and to our surprise his and the two other houses where we had activated the sprinklers were still standing although the fire had burnt all around and over them. The sprinklers were still running, but the USFS pump had stopped and we could not get it going again. Spot fires were still burning around the structures.

I headed out along the Seagull Road at about 6:30PM to see if I could round-up another fire pump- had to cut through several burning trees to reach the Gunflint. Shortly after getting to the Gunflint the north end of the fire front burnt across the road I had just traveled, closing it off.

Upon making contact with USFS firefighters I was informed that no pumps were available and the return road was on fire anyways. Jim was finally able to get through the Seagull Road with his truck about another hour latter after the fire had passed through.

From what I could see and heard from others on the fire several buildings had been burnt along the Seagull Road, which did not have sprinklers, and more buildings were gone on the Gunflint by the road. Firefighters were attempting to save the buildings at Seagull fishing camp as the fire passed through towards Seagull outfitters. On the northern flank of the fire, the fire had now jumped Seagull lake and Fishhook Island was on fire. Strong wind continue to blow the fire northwards. From what I could see it did not look good for the remaining structures on the end of the Gunflint.

However there is a bit of good news- Ron appears to be safe: one of the USFS firefighters saw him hitch-hike down the Gunflint towards town. And as of yet there appears to have been no injurers.

I will have more later today or tomorrow. Ted Young

3 Comments:

At 7:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted,
What a desparate and dangerous situation you and others have been through and now the wait to see what can be saved. We are so glad you are safe. Don't take chances with your life. If it was caused by lightening it would have been one thing but for all of this loss of property, beautiful land and young wildlife as well as the anxiety and hardship everyone there is going through to have been caused by human negligence makes us angry. Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone there.
Sue & Scott Long

 
At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Additional information can also be found online at:

http://www.HamLakeFire.com

and

http://www.BWCAFire.com

 
At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from Minneapolis, and condolences to all of you up there who are in the midst of the fire. Can you tell us anything about the buildings on Fishhook Island, the Wilderness Canoe Base site? As a former staffer up there, it's hard not knowing more...any information would be helpful. I spent six of the best summers of my life up there.

Thanks.

Bob Aldrich

 

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