Fire Season Over?

     The rain fell all night long to equal over a half of an inch at the end of the Gunflint Trail.  I can’t complain when it rains up here and I am pretty much sure I can breathe a sigh of relief and say, "No big fires in 2008." 

     What a wonderful thing to be able to say.  I wasn’t so sure how the season would go especially when on May 4th as we were pulling barricades from the Ham Run Half Marathon a fire was reported.  It was late in the afternoon and conditions weren’t dry but I still experienced adrenaline fill my body as I raced to the scene.  It was just a small ditch fire right on the side of the Gunflint Trail between North Gunflint Lake Road and South Gunflint Lake Road.  It was obvious an individual wanted to play a little joke on the residents of the Gunflint Trail by attempting to light the ditch and who knows whate else on fire. Luckily conditions weren’t wet and the fire was easily extinguished.  Law enforcement in Cook County and at the USFS were notified as numerous residents saw a suspicous looking male there moments before the fire was started as well as walking away from that area afterwards, but to the best of our knowledge he was never even questioned.

     There were a couple of other fire scares during the summer but none that amounted to more than a few hours of firefighting work.  I think it was in July when some careless kids were playing with matches or fireworks down by Gunflint and started a fire.  It was noticed, called in and put out quickly.  Another fire down by Swamper and the Moose Viewing Area was extinguished as well.  I’m sure there were a number of small lightning strike fires we weren’t aware of too.  We’re hoping the local USFS will notify us in the future when there is a fire reported, no matter what the size.  

     Probably the strangest fire of the year happened a day after the local Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department did a mock fire call for training.  A scenario had been planned and paged out to unaware department members on Tuesday, September 16th.  It was a report of a fire on the north side of Loon Lake the GTVFD was to respond to.  They put fire boats in water, some hiked through the woods to the scene and they successfully went through the drill.  On the afternoon of September 17th law enforcement paged the GTVFD to respond to a real fire on the North side of Loon Lake.  Thanks to the properly prepared and trained GTVFD the fire was kept to a 10 X 15 area.  The GTVFD determined the fire to be the result of careless campfire connoisseurs.

     I would say that’s a wrap.  It’s mid-October, the days are getting shorter, the sun is getting weaker, the ground is saturated and winter is on its way.  The only thing about fire I’m worried about now is if I have enough firewood to keep my fireplace going throughout the upcoming winter.