I have just come from the Monday night fire meeting. The good news is that everyone who lives south of Cross River on the Gunflint Trail will be allowed to go home tomorrow. That means the Forest Service is pretty confident that it is safe to let us back in. The Seagull/Saganaga area people will be allowed to go in for the day on Thursday but they will have to come out that night. It won’t be long before they are allowed in to stay.
What changed today? The weather finally broke in our favor. It rained off and on all day. The fire only grew 1000 acres and most of that growth was in Canada. The winds also moderated the last two days. Finally the number of people working on the fire has grown to 1100.
The Forest Service is now estimating that they will have the fire contained by Sunday. This is not the same as controlled. Control will take some time yet. It will come when they are confident that nothing is going to break into flames again anywhere near the perimeter lines. We will probably have fire crews mopping up the fire for weeks, if not months, to come.
Canada still has a mess on their hands in the Saganaga, Northern Light and Little Gunflint/Little North area. They also have a couple larger fires with more homes threatened. As a result the U. S. Forest Service will be crossing into Canada to help with the fire. They will be working the islands on Saganaga. They will also work north of Little Gunflint/Little North to establish an eastern line on the fire. As someone said, “This gives new meaning to NAFTA.”
Arrowhead Electric has restored power on all the main lines. They will be turning on power as people occupy their homes. It is a matter of safety in case something unexpected has happened.
Also the Forest Service is opening the Superior National Forest to recreation in all areas outside the BWCA. The BWCA will stay closed until the Forest Service feels it is safe for people to go in. But this still gives us plenty of lakes to fish on.
So I am a pretty happy gal tonight. The Gunflint Lodge staff is ready to get everything open for our guests. It is going to be quite a job. Every single bed we have had a firefighter in on Thursday night. The kitchen had no power or water to clean it after serving 500 fire fighters.
I don’t know when Lee plans on opening but it won’t be long. For sure we will be ready by Memorial Day and probably sooner. Every one of us is ready to get back to our real job of entertaining and feeding guests. We will look forward to seeing all of you soon.