The Ham Lake Fire was officially contained on the U.S. side at 6:00 PM on Saturday, May 19, 2007. At that time overall containment of the fire was 65% but I’m sure it is more now. There are still over 200 people managing the fire on the U.S. side and almost 300 on the Canadian side. By the end of the week these numbers will be considerably less as crews are being demobilized daily. Since the numbers have dropped the Base Camp Concessionaire who was providing meals for the fire personnell has left and now meals are being provided at Voyageur. Don, Mike, Theresa, Ian and Sheri have been working non-stop getting things all set up at Voyageur for meals as well as our regular guests.
Marilyn is still at the Voyageur Outpost in Grand Marais answering telephone calls, getting mail, reserving permits and taking care of Voyageur paperwork. She and Lanie are the two refugees left stranded in town. We’re not sure when she will return to Voyageur since we don’t have mail service and without a phone line it will be difficult to function. The land line may not be up for 4-6 weeks so we are unsure what we will do about faxes, credit card purchases, fishing licenses, reservations, etc.
A good friend of ours, Chad Jones, has installed a "Yagi Antenna" on our roof so we can use one cell phone from our location. A Verizon wireless tower was put up for communications during the fire and then moved to the end of the Trail. This was suppose to enable us to use cell phones from our home/business but we only receive one bar, not good enough to hold conversations. We’re hoping they will make some improvements so we can have better cell coverage without driving up to the tower to talk.
Yesterday was a difficult day for me. I wanted to get things unpacked and put away but at the same time I was afraid to do so. Even though the threat of fire and evacuation were highly unlikely I still couldn’t help thinking, "What if?" I haven’t collected all of my photo albums and treasures from the Gunflint Pines yet either, maybe today. It’s such a resltess feeling and I hope it goes away soon.