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.
Here for the most recent update.
which is speculated to have been started by lightning has
grown to over 485 acres Monday, but is several miles from
resorts and cabins. No campers were evacuated, but the
portage between Sea Gull Lake and Alpine Lake has been
closed. Bruce Kerfoot of Gunflint Lodge explains "All
recreation continued-canoe parties and fishing people, on
Seagull and Saganaga. No one was evacuated. All canoe parties
can still use their permits and travel as planned. The fire
burned from the Seagull/Alpine portage along the north side of
Seagull. That location did not endanger any campers or
there are very few campsites along the north shore of Seagull.
The one point of concern however is that if the winds come up
and the fire starts to spread again there is only about 2
miles of land between the present fire and the developed area
around the campground and up the Sag corridor."
spreading, the wind has been cooperative, keeping the fire
from expanding towards the Gunflint Trail. Fire fighters
are assembling, from as far away as West Virginia, Ohio, and
Missouri. Four crews of twenty have been blazing fire
lines and soaking the perimeter, while planes dropped up to 1,400 gallons every 2 - minutes
during daylight hours. On Sunday August 7, the CL-215's
made a total of 193 drops on the fire. That is over one quarter
of a million gallons of water in one day. An
additional twenty fire fighters are expected. "The Gunflint Trail fire
department was completely mobilized ... and positioned
all their trucks and equipment up around Seagull, Gull Lake
and the Sag corridor. The department members went around and
started everyone's sprinkler system up in that area to be sure
everything was working properly."
No estimate of
containment has been set. A public information meeting
will be held today at 1:00 at Blankenburg Landing, Seagull