It is Monday morning and I have just come from the 10:00 a.m. public fire meeting. The news is generally good.
The burn out between Gunflint and Loon Lakes has held. There were no more structures lost on either of these two lakes. Unfortunately, nine buildings on the Preus family on the north shore of Gunflint were lost on the Thursday fire along the north shore.
There was some rainfall last night. Gunflint received about .1” and there was about .5” at Trail Center. There was also thunder and lightening but no new fires from that have been spotted.
The fire continues to cool in the Seagull/Saganaga area but it has moved north further into Saganaga Lake. Horseshoe Island had fire. There was crowning at 80-100’ on Saganaga. Red Pine Island on the Canadian side of Saganaga has lost some structures. The Canadians are evacuating people who live on the islands of Sag. They are also very actively fighting the fire.
On the fire finger going south from Loon Lake to Rush Lake, the Forest service has established lines on both the east and west sides just north of the wilderness and covering the homes along the Trail at Mayhew, West Pope, etc. They also did a burn out between South Lake and Mayhew Lake to help contain the fire. If conditions are right, they are preparing for another burn out in that same area.
The fire is now up to almost 60,000 acres. It is considered 20% contained. The costs to date are $4,738,569. There are now12 helicopters, 54 engines, 3 water tenders, 11 dozers, and 949 personnel fighting the fire.
There is a possibility that by the end of the week, residents will be allowed in to see their property. Seeing is different from staying so we will probably be townies for a bit longer.
As with any new experience, I am learning things I wish I never had to learn. For example, when evacuating, remember the four P’s: pills, pictures, pets, and photos. Another thing is that the Forest Service has a computer program that tracks lightening strikes like we had last night. Then the program maps these strikes. This map is a guide for the Forest Service to continually check the strikes for signs of new fires in the next couple days.
We are staying on Devil’s Track Lake, eight miles outside of Grand Marais. That is close enough for me to consider myself in town. Yesterday I learned that they have animals here too. As I drove to town 4 sleek otters crossed the road in front of me.
And then there are those pets of ours. Lee and Eva’s Diva taught us a lesson about cats. She is staying with us. Eva bought some new cat liter and a liter box when we first came down. On Friday night Diva peed all over our bed which she never does. We could not figure out what was wrong. On Saturday we remembered that the cat liter was a different brand. We bought some of the original brand. Bruce threw out the off brand. As he was putting in the good stuff, Diva was almost pushing him out of the way to get in the liter box. After she left a pile as big as a small dog, we all felt better.
Yesterday Lee mentioned the Red Cross and how they are helping with those of us who have been evacuated. These volunteers are serving meals and helping register people at the Community Center. They work well with the women at the church kitchen and the staff at the community center. They have bought the food for all of us. If you wish to give to the Red Cross, be sure to give to the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross. If you just send to the Red Cross, it will go to the national headquarters. The people here are from our Duluth branch. You can send the money to 2524 Maple Grove Rd., Duluth, MN 55811.
So we look forward to another good day today. I write again tomorrow.