Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day, 2007

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. Today I am thankful that I know where every one of my children and grandchildren are and that they are all safe and well. In the midst of this fire, these are the things that are really important.

I have just come back from the 10:00 a.m. fire meeting. Today is another pivotal day in this fire. Yesterday the Forest Service did a burn out (not back burn) between Gunflint and Loon Lakes. They burned from a north/south line starting at the west end of Dog Ear Bay on Gunflint and continuing to the fire on the east side of Gunflint. So go to Dog Ear Bay and draw a line south to Loon Lake. The entire area to the east of that line until it reaches the fire was successfully burned. You can access current maps of the fire by going to and following the links to the maps.

As you look at the map, the weather for today is 10-15 mph sustained winds from the southeast with gusts to 25 mph. The temperatures are in the 60’s and the humidity is 30-35%. Looking at the map, you can understand how important this burn out could be to protect Gunflint and Loon Lakes.

In addition to the burnout, there will be lots of additional protection throughout the day. Many homes along these lakes have been foamed by the fire crews. Sprinkler systems are up and working everywhere. There are 25 fire trucks plus crews in this specific area. They have also assigned helicopters and planes. The aircraft is used to quickly douse any flare-ups. So the Forest Service is primed to stop anything going west.

On the long fire finger that runs south from Little Gunflint to Rush Lake, the Forest Service has been reinforcing and widening lines on both the east and west sides of the finger. They don’t want the fire to spread in either direction.

The map you are viewing may show a black line on the north shore of Gunflint. This means the fire is out (or contained) there. It is because the area burned to the lakeshore. But it also means it is very unlikely that anything will come across Gunflint from the north. This line is part of the 15% of the fire that is considered contained. It is not a large amount of containment but it is a start.

If the winds go all against us today, the sheriff may have to re-evacuate the Trail Center area. Let’s hope is doesn’t come to that.

In the midst of all this, there are always human interest stories. A friend of mine talked about the worst time during the fire up at Seagull/Saganaga. Those trapped were facing the fact that they may have to evacuate by boat north into Saganaga Lake. So, all these boats were lined up at the landing ready to go. My friend thought she heard a cat meow. She turned around and really looked at all the boats. Every one of them had a cat in a travel box sitting ready to go.

On Friday I was up at the home where Bruce and I were staying. The UPS truck comes in. Our driver, Bill, gets out and says, “Just who I was looking for!” He had flowers from my son for me. Bill went down to the community center to find out where I was so he could deliver my flowers.

Once again today the Gunflint community is joined with the Grand Marais community to get through this fire together. Then we will rebuild together. The strength of our total community will carry us all.


Joe Hendershot said...

Sue, Thanks so much for the update. We're friends of Dave and Paula Beattie and we're wondering if they, and you guys, could use volunteers next weekend (if Trail is open to Gunflint Lake). If you see them can you tell them we're inquiring? Thank you! We're praying for all of you up there.

Joe and Donna
Eagan, MN

George Harris said...

I saw no mention of the 8 cabins and outbuildings on Gunflint Lake that burned to the ground. One of these was a beautiful log cabin that was located on he best beach on the lake.

emtgregg said...

My family and I had visited the lodge about 25 years ago and always wanted to come back. My heart goes out to all the owners and employees of the lodge as well as the homeowners in the area. If there is any silver lining, being a firefighter, one thing to remember is this destructive force of fire will eventually give birth to the regrowth of the beautiful forest lands the area is know for. While the land is blackened now, soon it will be lush and green and new. God Bless, all of our thoughts are with you. Gregg