Ham Lake Fire

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Ham Lake Fire

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Sun May 06, 2007 10:47 am

Fire on Gunflint Trail clears resort, homes
A wildfire forced the evacuation of a resort and five residences Saturday on the Gunflint Trail on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota.

Associated Press

Last update: May 05, 2007 – 9:50 PM


GRAND MARAIS, Minn. — A wildfire forced the evacuation of a resort on the Gunflint Trail on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northeastern Minnesota on Saturday.
Tuscarora Lodge on Round Lake was evacuated, and one outbuilding was lost, but there were no immediate reports of injuries, the Cook County sheriff's office said in a statement.

The sheriff's office said smoke and fire was reported at Round Lake around 11:30 a.m. The fire started at the northwest corner of Ham Lake and spread to Chub Lake.

By late afternoon, the fire had burned around 600 acres — an area measuring three-eighths of a mile by 2.5 miles.

The U.S. Forest Service was fighting the fire and more firefighters were expected to arrive Saturday evening. The cause of the fire was not immediately determined.
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Postby bwca » Sun May 06, 2007 10:51 am

INCIDENT UPDATED: 2007-05-06 02:35:17 ET
Summary
The Ham Lake Fire was initially reported to the Superior National Forest and the Cook County Sheriff at 11:30 a.m. on 5/5/07. It is believed to have started from a campsite on the NW corner on Ham Lake, just east of the BWCAW along the Gunflint Trail. The fire rapidly moved to the NW pushed by strong SE winds.At 4:00 p.m. the fire was believed to be approximately 350 to 400 acres with a flank three miles long and 3/8 mile wide. By 8 p.m. the fire was estimated to be about 1000 acres. Fire crews initiated structure protection at Tuscarora Lodge where the Cook County Sheriff's office ordered an evacuation. One small out-building was burned. A Type II Incident Management Team was ordered and expected to take over management of the fire on Sunday, May 6th.

A public information meeting will take place with representatives from Cook County, The Superior National Forest, the Gunflint Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and the Incident Management Team at Gunflint Fire Hall on Sunday morning at 11:00.
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Postby bwca » Sun May 06, 2007 11:22 am

Current weather at Gunflint can be found at:
http://bwca.cc/weather/gunflint/broadcast.jpg
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May 6th update on Gunflint Trail fire

Postby VoyageurNorth » Sun May 06, 2007 8:16 pm

For Immediate Release:
Contact: MIFC Fire Information
218 327-0558
May 6, 2007
2:00pm

Ham Lake Fire Update

The Ham Lake fire, located approximately 20 miles northwest of Grand Marais, MN, burned most of last night and is thought to be approximately 6000-8000 acres. As of 10:45 this morning a mandatory evacuation was ordered for the Gunflint Trail northwest of the Cross River crossing (about the last seven miles of the Trail). An evacuation center is established at the Community Center in Grand Marais.

The Type II Incident Management Team was briefed last night and are setup this morning at the Sea Gull Guard station near the west end of the Gunflint trail. A resort and camp sites on Round Lake were evacuated yesterday as the fire spread quickly to the west with strong south easterly winds that gusted up to 30mph. Air and ground resources were able to protect most structures however; one small out building was lost.

During the evening, more resources were ordered and are now on scene and/or en route. Today, Sunday, a red flag warning has been issued by the National Weather Service meaning extreme fire behavior conditions will exist well into the evening hours.

The items assigned to this fire are as follows:
62 Overhead
2 Dozers
5 Engines ( plus 5 more on order)
2 20 person crews (plus 2 more on order arriving later today from Michigan)
2 Heavy helicopters
3 CL_215s
1 Heavy air tanker
Air attack platform
1 Light helicopter
Numerous structural fire engines from local fire departments.

At this time most of Minnesota’s resources are committed.

Some closures are in effect for entry points and trails in the fire area. To get the latest details on closures go to www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/superior. A map and further fire information is available on www.inciweb.org.
Not to commercialize, but just to let you know I am one of those "outfitter types" :-)

1829 East Sheridan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731
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Eastern entry points that are currently closed

Postby VoyageurNorth » Sun May 06, 2007 8:19 pm

In addition, effective May 6, 2007, due to the Ham Lake Fire on the Gunflint Trail, the following entry points will be closed to Overnight and Day Use Visitors until further notice:

Cross Bay - 50
Missing Link - 51
Brant - 52
Seagull - 54
Saganaga - 55
Kek Trail East - 56 (The Kek Trail West EP 74, has been posted as well for no travel on the Kek past the Old Pines Loop) Magnetic Trail - 57 Larch Creek - 80
Not to commercialize, but just to let you know I am one of those "outfitter types" :-)

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Postby bwca » Sun May 06, 2007 11:15 pm

Ham Lake Fire

INCIDENT UPDATED: 2007-05-06 20:46:35 ET

Summary
*** A Mandatory Evacuation was announced by the Cook County Sheriff at 11:10 am on Sunday May 6, 2007, for the Gunflint Trail and all roads connected to it, in the area north and west of the Cross River. BWCAW entry points 50 (Cross Bay Link), 51 (Missing Link), 52 (Brant Lake), 54 (Seagull Lake), 54A (Seagull only), 55 (Saganaga Lake), 55A (Saganaga Lake ONLY), 56 (Kekekabic Trail East), 57 (Magnetic Lake) and 80 (Larch Creek), J (Saganaga day use), and K (Seagull day use) will be closed until further notice. In addition, the Kekekabic Trail is closed east of Disappointment Lake to the Gunflint Trail.

Evacuees are to check in at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais - phone 218-387-3017.

Fueled by strong winds and low humidities the fire grew substantially today (May 6th) in a north-northwest direction and was estimated at approximately 8000 acres at 4:00 p.m. Suppression activities are focused on protection of structures and attempting to stop the northeastly advance of the fire.

The Ham Lake Fire was initially reported to the Superior National Forest and the Cook County Sheriff at 11:30 a.m. on 5/5/07. It is believed to have started from a campsite on the NW corner on Ham Lake, just east of the BWCAW along the Gunflint Trail. The fire rapidly moved to the NW pushed by strong SE winds.At 4:00 p.m. the fire was believed to be approximately 350 to 400 acres with a flank three miles long and 3/8 mile wide. By 8 p.m. the fire was estimated to be about 1000 acres. Fire crews initiated structure protection at Tuscarora Lodge where the Cook County Sheriff's office ordered an evacuation. One small out-building was burned.

A public information meeting took place with representatives from Cook County, The Superior National Forest, the Gunflint Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and the Incident Management Team at Gunflint Fire Hall on Sunday morning at 11:00. Meetings will be held each day at 11:00 a.m. at the Gunflint Fire Hall for as long as needed.
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5/8/07

Postby bwca » Tue May 08, 2007 10:43 pm

At the moment, the road closure will effect only Seagull and Saganaga Lakes for opening weekend. All the resorts are open for business as usual on all the other lakes, and most of the outfitters are open for business.

The USFS has moved their command headquarters back to their Seagull Guard Station and they will be ramping up to over 400 fire fighters as the Type I overhead team takes charge of supervising the suppression effort.

There have been no injuries or loss of life and all the lost structures have been second homes, cabins, businesses, garages, and sheds.
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Superior North Outfitters & Seagull Outpost

Postby bwca » Tue May 08, 2007 10:45 pm

It has been reported that Superior North Outfitters and Bear Track Outfitting's Seagull Outpost have been lost.
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Oh, no!

Postby VoyageurNorth » Wed May 09, 2007 1:00 am

I know Anita & Earl at Superior North, from doing sportshows along side them for years. I feel SO bad for them, they are two very nice people.
Not to commercialize, but just to let you know I am one of those "outfitter types" :-)

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superior north

Postby jojolala88 » Wed May 09, 2007 9:04 am

Where did you get info on Superior North. I've been searching for days and couldn't find anything. I used to work for Earl and Anita and have remained friends for many years. I sent them a few emails but of course they haven't replied. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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how far?

Postby deadphishphan » Wed May 09, 2007 11:03 am

how far down the gunflint trail did it go? does anyone have a site with a map with names of the lakes and stuff? :o
thanks.
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Postby L.T.sully » Wed May 09, 2007 4:29 pm

Actually if what I've heard is correct it's crossed into canada. So that's all the way to the end of the trail, and even farther. I feel so bad for all of those who have lost property. I hope the bwca get's doused with rain the rest of this year so this can be the first, and last fir of the year.
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Postby bwca » Thu May 10, 2007 2:28 pm

Winds have picked up and are gusting 25 mph. It is greatly expanding across the top of Gunflint Lake to the East in Canada, as well as on the West side of the Gunflint Trail expanding SE from Round Lake / Tuscarora.

The evacuation has been expanded down to the Iron Lake Road.

http://www.hamlakefire.com
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Postby vid » Thu May 10, 2007 3:28 pm

If you're interested;

There is a website called http://www.flashearth.com which combines various online aerial/satellite mapping sites into one site. One of their sources is Nasa Terra, a snapshot of the earth updated every day. You can see the Ham Lake Fire here. (http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=48.285836&lon=-90.160642&z=9.8&r=0&src=nasa)

Let's hope property is the only thing taken by this fire. Good luck to those who live or own property in the area. :)

-Derek

also- Last I heard, there were about 200 acres (or hectares, we use both and it's confusing. I have no idea how big hectares are; I'm pretty sure it's 200 acres though) are burning in Canada; there are few properties in the area so the MNR hasn't started fighting it (They may have at this point?) but is on alert.

additionally - radar has captured the smoke

Image

The blue area along the border is smoke from the fire, not actual precipitation. Click here for an updated version of that image.
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Postby JohnMags » Thu May 10, 2007 4:56 pm

Anyone have information about the Cannadian side of Saganaga? Have cabin on NE arm and am worried. Is the MNR going to fight it if it gets that far?
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Postby bwca » Thu May 10, 2007 6:41 pm

I've heard it is spreading pretty fast into Canada, as well as South. We are planning to go up to our cabin and begin taking memoirs out.
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Postby bwca » Thu May 10, 2007 6:42 pm

Mandatory IMMINENT evacuation order

Area to be evacuated:

The Gunflint Trail and all roadways attached to the Gunflint Trail north and west of the intersection of the East End of County Road 92. This is due to the threat of the Ham Lake Fire.

Escape Route:

South on the Gunflint Trail to Grand Marais. Evacuees must check in with the Community Center, Evacuation Center.

PLEASE LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!

Sheriff Mark Falk

(County Road 92 is the "Old Gunflint Trail")
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Re: how far?

Postby L.T.sully » Thu May 10, 2007 7:47 pm

deadphishphan wrote:how far down the gunflint trail did it go? does anyone have a site with a map with names of the lakes and stuff? :o
thanks.

http://www.startribune.com/10072/rich_media/1171231.html Here is a website with a map showing the day to day progress of the fire. I can't belive the fire in Hollywood hills is getting more coverage than this. It's discusting, that I would have heard nothing had it not been for several other bwca boards. Same as the Turtle lake fire last summer, my group was going to Gull lake right in the middle of the fire. I would have heard nothing had my freind not called me. I wish this fire would get more coverage with over 40 properties destroyed, and 20,000 acres burned.
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Postby bwca » Thu May 10, 2007 8:56 pm

I've heard it is burning heavily through Canada. I'm not sure on Sag, but definitely above Gunflint. It has jumped to the South side too from what I have heard. No word on the resorts.
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Postby bwca » Thu May 10, 2007 11:41 pm

JohnMags Posted: 10 May 2007 03:56 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyone have information about the Cannadian side of Saganaga? Have cabin on NE arm and am worried. Is the MNR going to fight it if it gets that far?


There is a new phone line for owners of Canadian properties to call and check: 807-476-2200
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Postby bwca » Thu May 10, 2007 11:44 pm

All Gunflint District entry points have now been closed.

http://www.hamlakefire.com/Closures.htm
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Postby vid » Fri May 11, 2007 10:19 am

The fire looks like it's about 5mi (give or take) SE of Saganaga.

Image

The smoke was really heavy last night in the city, at one point the visibility dropped to about 2 miles, maybe less. It's cleared out now.

--- WEst fire region (NW Ontario) situation update

Thunder Bay District Fire Number 37

A top priority fire is Thunder Bay Fire 37. This fire originated from the Ham Lake fire in the United States which crossed the Canada/U.S. border this week. The fire is located about 110 kilometres southwest of Thunder Bay. Ontario Incident Management Teams have been dispatched to this fire which increased several thousand hectares in size today driven northeasterly into the Gunflint Lake and Northern Lights Lakes areas by erratic winds.

Fire personnel in Ontario have focused on values protection, setting up sprinkler systems on numerous structures nearest the fire’s edge. Set up of sprinkler values protection equipment on structures will continue in those areas that may be threatened in coming days. An Emergency Area Order has been declared in a large south and west portion of the Thunder Bay District and access into those areas will be restricted or closed. Evacuation of some areas is expected as early as Friday as people will be asked to move out of those areas with the highest potential threat from the advancing fire.

People wishing further information on the Restricted Fire Zone, the fire situation or the Emergency Area Order can call the Fire Information Hotline at 1-888-258-8842 or direct to the Thunder Bay Fire Management Headquarters at (807) 476-2200. Property owners calling in about Thunder Bay 37 in relation to their properties will be asked to leave their name and contact information and they will be provided with specific information on the status of their properties.
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Postby L.T.sully » Fri May 11, 2007 1:41 pm

The fire seems like it is well into Canada. It is still only 5% contained. The fire has ravaged over 50,000 acres. At this rate it may be part of the national news by the end of this weekend. I feel so bad for all those who own properties on the trail. The good news is it looks like the area might be getting some well needed rain tonight and into tommorrow.
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Canadian damage

Postby fourth_generation » Fri May 11, 2007 4:06 pm

My family's cabins on the north side of Gunflint Lake, about three miles west of the Little Gunflint lake were destroyed by the fire on Thursday 5/10. There were about eight residential structures in all. I've heard reports that westerly winds pushed the fire westward across the entire north shore of the lake down to the Little Gunflint lake before the wind direction shifted to an easterly breeze, slowing the fire's eastward advance.

I don't know the extent of the damage, but if all of our lakefront cabins were destroyed, the damage is likely extensive across the Canadian portions of the lake. I wish everyone else the best, and hope that the south side escapes injury. It appears to have avoided the worst so far.

This information comes secondhand from firefighters in Thunder Bay, and was obtained the morning of Friday 5/11.
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Postby L.T.sully » Sat May 12, 2007 9:45 am

Well I just saw a story about the fire on CNN. It didn't have more info than there is here, but it shows the magnatude of this fire.
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Postby vid » Mon May 14, 2007 5:29 pm

Image
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Postby Hibbert » Thu May 17, 2007 10:24 pm

I'm living just south of Thunder bay and from what I've understood the fire is about 70 km SW of my house. It has hit a blow down section in the Quetico park area and was burning rapidly through there. We have had a bit of precipitation in the past couple days which seemed to help the fire and the first progress has been made with hoselines being set up by the MNR. It is currently stated as being lots of smoldering and no intense action from it but it is expected to flare up again with dry cool weather to come. The winds yet again today were heavy coming from the SW which was bringing smoke to the outskirts of Thunder Bay. It seems that there have been no water bombers taking off from the Thunder Bay airport today or yesterday. There is still evacuations alerts in effect and there are still road closures. The fire has burnt about 14 000 Hectares on the Canadian side alone. The MNR has been calling firefighters from across Canada. Currently there is over 300 personnel on the fire and another 2 groups coming from Alberta and Northwest Territories.


I hope this helps any of you that are wondering. And I plan to head down to take a look what is happening so I will be back with updates on the situation.
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Postby m.welinski » Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:35 am

In response to a May 11 letter about the 1999 BWCA blowdown and errors made in not allowing the commercial harvest of the blowdown timber: The Ham Lake fire would have reached monumental proportion even if the 1999 windstorm had not occurred.
The severe drought in northern Minnesota has produced extremely dangerous conditions for wildfire. To lay the blame for the Ham Lake fire, its power and size on the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service decision to maintain the wilderness status of the area is simply foolish. It would have happened anyway -- it was just a matter of time.

While necessary for the regeneration of forest land, forest fires are Mother Nature's way of regaining control. Loss is never easy -- fire loss is especially traumatic for us.
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Postby PaddlerJimmy » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:25 pm

Ham Lake will recover
Cook County News-Herald, Joan Farnam
Last Updated: Thursday, August 30th, 2007 02:26:58 PM


A standing room only crowd at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center heard some good news — and bad news — about the future of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Sunday.
But the audience, made up of homeowners, backpackers, lodge owners and wilderness lovers were glad to listen and learn more about their beloved wilderness.
Would it recover from the wildfires in recent years? What should they expect?
“Even though trees are dead [from the Ham Lake Fire,] the forest is still very much alive,” said Lee Frelich, a University of Minnesota ecologist who has been studying the forest ecology of northern Minnesota for more than 30 years.
Frelich knows these forests well, and in his two-hour presentation, discussed the history of forest fires throughout the

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in the last 200 years.
Later, he and members of the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byways Committee led a tour of a few wildfire sites to further illustrate the impact wildfires have on tree populations over generations.
Global climate change and human activities have also changed the way the forest recovers from disasters like the blowdown and wildfires, he said, noting that the history of the BWCAW going back thousands of years shows how trees have migrated in and out of the area according to climate conditions.
“Trees respond to climate,” he said. About 11,000 years ago, wetter conditions in the BWCAW made conditions favorable to white pine. It migrated from North Carolina about 8,000 years ago, he said.
Global climate projections for this area might not be good news for white pine and jackpine forests, however, he said.
Climate change is not the only factor in forest regeneration, however, said Jim Raml, a member of the Byways Forest Committee. Man’s activity in the forests have seriously hampered the ability of jack pines, in particular, to regenerate themselves in many areas. Raml said that the Cavity Lake Fire (http://www.cavitylake.com) and Ham Lake Fire (http://www.hamlakefire.com) has left large areas of the wilderness vulnerable to invasion by exotic species which crowd out young pine seedlings.
Frelich agreed. Birch and aspen forests, especially in the cooler Ham Lake burn area, will fill in over time, with small areas of pine, he said. “You might find pockets of black spruce and cedar,” he said, but the profile of the forest will be different in the coming years.
The Cavity Lake Fire, which was much more intense, actually burned down to bare soil, Raml said. In the blowdown areas, this is particularly unfortunate, because jack pine regeneration is highly unlikely. And, some areas where jack pine was slowly coming back were re-burned in the Ham Lake Fire.
“You’re not going to see these jackpine forests and red/white pine forests come back like they were,” Frelich said.
If climate change models are correct and northern Minnesota will become hotter and drier, the forest will change even more, he said.
But like everything in the natural world — only time will tell.
(For more information on the impact of global warming on the BWCAW, see the September issue of Backpacker Magazine.)
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Postby PaddlerJimmy » Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:50 am

Forest Service plans salvage,
reforestation of Ham Lake wildfire area

Cook County Star, 11/07, Rhonda Silence

US Forest Service Gunflint District Ranger Dennis Neitzke issued a decision on November 23 regarding salvage of trees killed in the May 2007 Ham Lake wildfire. The decision area consists of 88 acres outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Neitzke said the fire-killed timber would lose value for use as forest products if the harvest is not completed in a timely manner. Implementation of the salvage project is anticipated to begin in the winter of 2007 ­ 2008.
Neitzke said the Ham Lake Salvage Project will include only dead trees and any live trees incidentally removed for site access. Asked if the project will be worth the effort for a local logger, Neitzke said he believed it will. He said, "In this particular case, these will be offered for sale. There may be work that we will have to do in other areas, but this project has enough value that it may be salvagable."
The areas that would not be worth a logger's effort are difficult to access, include too much blowdown, and have trees too small to harvest, said Neitzke.
Neitzke said he is also working on a Superior National Forest reforestation project for the area affected by the Ham Lake Fire. He said the Forest Service has been meeting with members of the community as well as the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee, to gather ideas and form a proposal for a reforestation project. He said the reforestation project will focus on the area along the Gunflint Trail and the Trail's End campground.
The reforestation effort will require some site preparation, which sometimes includes prescribed burns. "In this case, we don't have to do that," said Neitzke. "The fire did a pretty good job for us."
The decision memo said the goal is to recreate the scenic beauty of tall pines along the Gunflint Corridor. Neitzke explained it is a long-term proposal, looking 50 years into the future. "We're looking at the Gunflint Corridor, and trying to get the Red and White pine reestablished. The Jack pine, Aspen, and Paper birch are coming back on their own."
Neitzke expects to have Ham Lake Reforestation Project plan available for public comment on January 2008.
The Ham Lake Fire started on May 5, 2007 and burned approximately 75,000 acres in the United States and Canada.
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