Famine and Red Eye Fires

Life here at Planet Heston's sure has been hopping lately! I have hopes of posting a longer note, with pictures of our current events, but for lack of time at the moment, this will be brief. As many of you have heard, we had thunderstorms a week ago, with lightning that has started some fires in our area. Specifically, two fires are currently burning near us, the Famine fire and the Red-Eye fire. The Famine fire is closer, about four to four and a half miles south of us. The fires are within the BWCA, and are not burning in blowdown. We haven't had much rain, unfortunately, so conditions are dry.

The Famine fire is directly south of us, and on Thursday it made a strong move to the north, due to south winds blowing. On Friday, the fire didn't really move much, but the smoke made it look like it was closer to the trail than it actually was. Since the fire had pretty much stalled on its own, the firefighting aircraft concentrated their efforts on the Red-Eye Lake fire to the east. Later, they were able to put a lot of water on the Famine Lake fire, and that helped to slow down the front line.

Today, we are expecting cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity levels, conditions that are much more favorable for slow fire growth and increased fire-fighting efforts. Rain is predicted over the next few days also, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that it arrives soon.

Yesterday, the sheriff issued a precautionary evacuation. The area that this covered extended from the west side of Iron Lake to the Gunflint Narrows Road, which goes in towards the Gunflint/Magnetic narrows. This evacuation was called in the event that if the fire had reached the Gunflint Trail, then it would not be possible to leave should someone choose to do so. All other areas of the Trail remained open. People who were travelling on the trail at that time were stopped, and if they were residents or if they had reservations at a lodge, they were allowed to proceed. This was a voluntary evacuation, and some of our guests chose to leave at that time. We stayed, as did some of our other cabin guests.

This morning, it is cloudy, and hazy across the lake. We are hearing some aircraft, and so we know that they are once again working on the fire. If you have plans up the Trail, we recommend that you call ahead for conditions, and then make decisions based on what you are learning from the people who live here. I will post more later on today, including some pictures, but for now I have to go clean cabins. I just heard that the local radio station, WTIP, will have a fire update at noon today. If you read this before then, you can go to http://www.wtip.org and click on the dancing moose to webstream. Then you can hear the information live. Greg is at the daily briefing as I type, so he will have information from that, which I will summarize also.
Thank you for your calls, and for checking in with us via the blog. We really appreciate all of the support. Talk to you soon!