Finally--Some Photos

When I try to put photos together with text, inevitably I get sidetracked. So for now, here are some photos.

The two images above were taken by Paul, on Wednesday, May 9th. The Ham Lake Fire had been burning since Saturday, May 4. It had started west of us, had moved up the Trail to Seagull and Sag, and on this day, as part of the fire-fighting operations, a burn-out procedure was planned. This was to burn out fuels on the north and west side of Gunflint and Magnetic Lakes. By doing so, the fire team hoped to keep the fire from roaring down to the populated areas of these two lakes. These photos were taken at about seven p.m., after the burn had begun.

The next two photos were taken on the afternoon of Thursday, May 10--our very rough day. Greg was working with Mark Darling, running propane tanks from the fill station to the sprinkler systems. Mark Dexter and his son Nathan were working with Paul to put up some sprinkler heads on some of our buildings. Addie was making lunch for the guys, and I was trying to pack stuff, in case we were evacuated, as well as answer the phone, and get a cabin ready in anticipation of more fire guys coming that night. When we saw the flames on the Canadian side, we had to pause to take pictures and watch the unimaginable scene unfolding in front of us.

The sky was dark with all of the thick black smoke. The lake was wild with the northwest wind that was blowing. We could see and hear airplanes, which were scooping water to drop on the fire. Then the deputy sheriff came by, shortly before two, and we learned that there was a mandatory evacuation order for Gunflint and Loon Lakes. Greg heard about it while he was on the Trail, and so he came home as quickly as he could.

Here is a picture of him checking on our fire pump, before we left.

The smoke was very thick on the north side, but it was still clear on the south side.

Addie left a with Tim and Maureen, and Greg, Paul and I finished packing. I snapped some pictures, to remember what it was all like at that moment. The picture below is a shot of the sauna, as the smoke settled in on our side.

The next photo was taken Wednesday, May 16, when we returned to the lodge in the early evening. What a difference one week can make.
And finally, here is a view from the dock, also taken on Wednesday evening. The lake and the sky look a whole lot better. Unfortunately, the view of Canada has changed. The hills are blackened. But down near shore, there are pockets of green. Robert tells me that it is a mix of cedar and red pines trees .