Too Pooped to Party

     Today is the birthday of the Ham Lake Fire, it is now officially one week old.  I don’t feel like celebrating, just sleeping.  The sky is so black with smoke right now it looks like black thunder clouds.

     Today firefighters prepared for tomorrow’s weather.  The forecast calls for winds coming from the Southeast at 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.  This would push the fire back into the Gunflint lake area that was evacuated on Thursday afternoon.  To try to protect this area a back burn was lit near the Crab Lake area to create a fire line.  This area had been burned a few years back during a prescribed burn but will offer even more protection if it is completely burned out.

     We’re also seeing huge smoke plumes on the north side of Gunflint Lake.  This area continues to burn from the Ham Lake fire, but the area that is hot now is said to be quite a ways inland.  If a person looks at a map of the fire it is almost like it has come full circle with burned areas all around us.  You can see a map of the perimeter by visiting this website.

     It is difficult to imagine over 657 people fighting this fire.  There is so much activity going on it is mind boggling.  There are crews working on setting up sprinklers, others who are only changing propane on systems that are already running, some who only fill the propane and yet others who deliver it.  The Type I Team manages the entire incident but beneath them everyone has their own responsibilities. 

     The Cook County Sheriff’s Department is in charge of evacuations.  The Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department performs the evacuations and helps to secure structures.  Since the fire spans such a great distance of the Gunflint Trail Hall #1 at Poplar Lake is taking care of that area and Hall #2 at Gunflint is taking care of the area around Gunflint. 

     Mike and Bob Baker have been working at Hall #2 and they have a number of crews working with them.  They assign groups to work on different areas patrolling hot spots, checking on sprinklers and defending against any flare ups.  They need to assign other members of the GTVFD to the fire trucks and patrol areas as well.  They coordinate equipment drops, repairs and handle all of the logistics.  It’s a huge task and responsibility.    They also patrol and lend a hand wherever they are needed.  They along with the people running Hall #1 are doing a fantastic job.

     The amount of work getting accomplished is staggering.  We’re all hoping and praying it will be enough to fight off the fire tomorrow.  The long term forecast doesn’t call for much in the way of precipitation.  I know tomorrow will be a challenging day so please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.