Thundershowers last night. ½ inch of rain mid-trail (Hungry Jack Outfitters is no longer in the evacuation area), they're saying 1/10 inch of rain at Seagull Guard Station. The mist and humidity are helping containment efforts today. The number of lightening strikes was worrisome (I love thunderstorms, but woke up here in Grand Marais at 2am and thought “EVACUATE, EVACUATE! )I understand there is technology available to track each strike, so that aircraft can monitor strike-spots regularly in the next couple of days. This will be important for the entire forest up here.
Things are cooling in the areas around Tuscarora. This morming they were busy with a flooded dining hall basement---we are mighty wet in our sprinkler-fed bubble.
The fire is intense up on the east end of Saganaga---I understand that some structures have been lost on the Canadian side, and many are being evacuated/ and protected. These are the folks to worry about today.
Today in Grand Marais we’re trying to look to the months ahead. The Forest Service is meeting and hopefully will open up permit reservations for June. Many areas remain untouched---so, we’re doing what we can. We do have an entire summer ahead of us, and right now almost all of the lakes are OK. We’re all for getting back into the woods, when the fire is contained. (Note, there may be extensive campsite damages on the Granite River route—this is my best guess).
There are many levels of concern here---all important and valid. Folks anxious to return to protect their homes, cabins, businesses---. There are those equally eager to return to the places that have become a “home” to them—camps, resorts, lakes –to explore the areas, witness the damages. There are those who just want their BWCA vacation---they want to fry walleyes on an open fire. We're all for that too---when it is safe.
The crews are working diligently to protect the Loon Lake “finger” of the fire---extending south of the Gunflint Trail. This morning they were calling the Ham Lake fire 20% contained---which means that there is sufficient cooled burned areas and hose laid around 20% of the perimeter of the fire.
Once again, the community is incredibly supportive—both near and far. My brother Mike arrived and has been staying up with Andy—providing relief and welcomed camaraderie that help keep the bounce in Andy's step. My sister Lori also helped with the re-supply---and I realized last night the most important thing she has brought is a new set of ears so that the kids could re-tell their stories again. My parents still know what I need before I ask..
I’m a little nutty-- I arrived at the clinic for Shelby’s Dr. appt and I realized that I hadn’t picked up Shelby from school yet. I’m thankful for patient people. Someone even stopped me today and offered to tie my shoe.
This catch-up day in town will also help me to stop anthropomorphizing this fire. Isn’t it clever how it sends a draft ahead of it to further dry the fuels, so when the fire arrives it burns more brightly? Isn’t it evolutionary how it creates its own weather system—changing wind directions, sometimes drying up the rain before it hits the ground? Isn’t it evil how it seems to be hooking around and trying to come back on Tuscarora from the south and west again---our only weak flank? Isn’t uncanny that it can be beautiful and wicked at the same time?
National structure protection teams spend a fair amount of time sitting on the dock at Tuscarora, on the hill by Loon Lake Lodge, and the roofs of Gunflint Lodge---watching the horizon and waiting. I think it is disappointing not to be assigned to be part of the fire action. Here’s hoping that they don’t see any.