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BWCA Weather for Ely, Grand Marais, and the Gunflint Trail

 Alpine Lake Fire 



A watchful eye has been on on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area since July 4, 1999, when over 400,000 acres of forest were blown down.  A fire broke out this weekend at Alpine Lake, located just West of the end of the historic Gunflint Trail and Sea Gull Lake.  While this is definitely not the first fire in the BWCA since the blowdown, the Alpine Lake Fire may be grabbing more attention as it is in an area that received some of the worst damage in the '99 blowdown.

August 11, 2005 12:00 PM Alpine Lake Fire

The Alpine Lake Fire within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
continues to burn. The lightning caused fire is consuming fir, pine,
spruce, aspen, and birch. The fire has spotted to four islands on Seagull

Approximately 20 campsites are closed within the Red Rock, Alpine, Grandpa
and Seagull Lakes area. Campsites will be closed and be reopened as safety
allows. Contact the Gunflint Ranger District with questions about specific

Wednesday was a good day for firefighters; fire activity was low with only
an occasional torching of individual trees throughout the day. Planned
burnout operations were successfully completed and good progress was made
with hose lays and sprinkler systems. Structure protection crews continue
to coordinate efforts with local property owners.

There is a 40% chance of showers over the fire today with a possibility of
.1 to .2 inches of rain. Winds will be from the south at 8-10 mph.
Increased humidity and low wind should give the firefighters the
opportunity to solidify containment lines. Thursday night there is the
possibility of isolated thunderstorms; however the main storm is expected
to remain south of Duluth.

Operations planned for today include a continuation of indirect line
construction between the lakes. The fire will be attacked directly where
it has reached the shore to secure and minimize further damage. A direct
attack is planned in the southwest portion of the fire where burnout
operations have been completed. Another burnout is planned for today if
the weather cooperates. This is done to consume fuel between the wildfire
and a firebreak suppression forces want to establish.

Two twenty-person crews are establishing spike camps near the west end of
the fire. One ten-person crew remains in a spike camp on Grandpa Lake.

Alpine Fire Facts:

Safety of personnel, residents and visitors continue to be the top

No evacuations are planned or in progress at this time.

Date started: 8/6/05 Cause: Lightning
Current Size: 1040 acres Percent Containment: 15%
Number of Personnel: 210 Estimated containment: Unknown
Location: NE MN near the end of the Gunflint Trail between Alpine, Seagull,
Red Rock and Grandpa Lakes
Minimum Impact Suppression Tools will be used (these are light on the land
tactics including, using natural barriers, hose lays to make wet line, and
geographic barriers.)

There is a Unified Command between the USFS, MN DNR, and the Cook County
Sheriff. An Incident Management Team involving all wildfire-fighting
agencies in Minnesota is in charge of fire fighting operations.

Fire restrictions in the Blowdown area are being planned for the 1201 AM
Friday. Level 2 restrictions state:
Uses of campfires or wood/charcoal burning stoves are not allowed in
the restricted area.
Exception: Campfires will be allowed, any time of day, at Trails End,
Iron Lake, East Bearskin and Flour Lake developed campgrounds, ONLY in fire
Campfire restrictions apply to PowWow and Eagle Mt./ Brule Trails
The Kekekabic Trail, east of Disappointment Lake, and the Border
Route Trail (with associated connector trails) will be closed to all use.
Use of gas or propane cook stoves will be allowed anywhere in the
restricted area at any time of the day.

Alpine Lake Fire Archive: Related Links:
8/10/05 Alpine Fire Map (PDF) Smoke Monitoring
8/9/05 11 a.m. Wildfire Information Center
8/9/05 Midnight National Fire News


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