Here is your daily fire update. First the facts: the fire has now grown to 75,000 acres. Most of that growth is in Canada. There are now almost 1100 people working on the fire and the cost is just under $6,000,000. The entire fire (both Canada and U. S.) is 20% contained and the U. S. side is 50% contained.
The next words are hard for a resorter to say but this morning Greg Gecas from Heston’s called his wife and said, “It is a beautiful cold, rainy day on Gunflint.” The Trail got another .1” of rain and there is high humidity. The winds are not expected to be too hard today.
Yesterday Bob Baker, Sr., and Larry Schei went up the Trail to position boats for the Forest Service. Larry was asked by his wife to stop at their home for a couple things. One job was to water their flowers. As he was doing this, a Forest Service section chief stopped by. The chief said they had 4 fire engines and 115 men working at the east end of Loon Lake. No fire was going to get through them. Two engines patrolled all night. More men were stationed at the heliport by the Loon Lake Road.
The guys looked at lots of our homes and said it looks good. The Canadian side is burned but the south side of Gunflint looks normal. They drove past a home whose owner lived in Cloquet. Bob called him just to say that the house looks fine. Lots of people are doing things like that. Our county commissioner, Jim Johnson, took some pictures of homes on Saturday and printed copies for the owners. Digital cameras are wonderful.
Men have been assigned to keep the sprinkler systems going on Loon Lake, Tucker Lake and Gunflint Lake. On the two bigger lakes, they are doing this by boat. Others are doing this job on Seagull and Saganaga Lakes
The best sign of improvement is that on Thursday from noon to 4:00 p.m. residents of Seagull and Saganaga will be allowed to view their homes. There will be a safety briefing at the Poplar Lake fire station at 11:30. Everyone has to check in there and check out on the way home. Only one vehicle per property is allowed. Gunflint and Loon Lakes will happen later.
In an attempt to slow down rumors, there were a couple of spot fires on Three Mile Island but they were quickly doused and there are no more. On Red Pine Island only one structure was lost. The Canadian crews are working hard to not loose any more. The Canadians are also doing a burn out south of Red Sucker Bay to stop the fire by denying it fuel. The Forest Service has established spike camps in the southeast corner of the fire to stop anything from moving forward.
Businesses and individuals are coming forward to help. One of the large super market chains in the Twin Cities sent up a semi with snacks, and 20 pallets of bottled water. I am sorry but I don’t know which chain it was. This morning a neighbor handed the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross a check for $500.
We were talking at the Red Cross breakfast at Bethlehem Lutheran Church this morning. One of the neighbors was saying how we all complain about what is wrong with our country but at times like this, it’s the best place in the world to be.