Archive for the ‘Wildfire’ Category.

Fall Trail Clearing Underway

The annual clearing the summer’s accumulation of brush and down trees on the Banadad began in mid August. To date the Lace Lake, Tall Pines, Knopp and the Trail’s eastern three miles out side of the BWCA have been cleared.

Terry Horejsi, BCT employee on trail between the Lisz and Meads PortagesTerrh Horejsi, BCT employee working, outside the BWCA on the trail between the Lizz and Meads Portage.

After the trails out side the BWCA are cleared of down trees the next step is mowing the center. Again this year Rick Motz and his brush hot equipped tracked Bobcat is on the job.

Mowing the center brush outside the BWCA

The Bobcat mowed the Tall Pines, Knopp and most of the Lace Lake Trails. Due to two “mud hole” which the Bobcat could not cross on the Lace Lake Trail there still about 3/4 of mile of the trail that will have to be hand cut with a brush saw.

Also cleared was the one mile at the Trail’s eastern end all of which is within the BWCA. This portion was cleared using hand tools.

Then of course earlier this summer a five person crew from the Minnesota Conservation Corps spend five days clearing three or more miles of a remote interior section of the Trail including  where the Ham Lake Fire burned through.

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Another Widefire on the South Seagull Lake Road

Yesterday’s heavy winds brought down a power line igniting another fire along the South Seagull Road. With extremely dry conditions in the forest around Seagull the fire spread quickly. The Gunflint Fire Department was dispatched and by 7:00pm the USFS planes were making water drops.

According to, Banadad Trail ski groomer and Seagull Lake resident, Jim Raml, the fire began down the road from his land and the fire has now spread to his land. While the water drops helped  knocked the fire down last night, they did not extinguish it. With heavy winds again this morning the fire is picking up momentum.

The South Seagull Road including Raml’s property previously burned during the Ham Lake Fire. Needless to say Jim is not a “happy camper.” and he asked with the extremely dry conditions in the forest did the Forest Service  allow the  Pagami Creek Fire at first continue to burn on its own and not extinguish it. Now it is out of control.

Author Ted Young notes -according to the USFS’ Pat Johnson, “the Van Lake fire, which started Sept.6, is about 3 acres and is being monitored.” Monitored! Why are they not putting this fire out also.

Banadad Ski Trail Survives Forest Service Burns

Gunflint Trail -Banadad Trail Association members and volunteers were out in force clearing the Banadad Ski Trail this past weekend.  Twenty-five volunteers, worked 250 hours, clearing over thirteen miles of trails, including the seven miles within the Forest Service’s Mead and Dawkin prescribed burn areas. Trail clearing work was coordinated with the Forest Service.  Volunteers report only one 2000-foot section along the trail suffered any major fire damage. On the remainder of the trail, only a few scattered small spot burns were found. The trail for the most part is in excellent shape.

However, one crew did report that along side the trail a large beautiful area of old growth cedar just north of the 2000-foot burned-over area was destroyed by the fire.

Burned Old Growth Cedars Burned in the Meads Lake Burn

Burned Old Growth Cedars Burned in the Meads Lake Burn

In addition to the Banadad Trail Association members, work crews included several local residents, business members, and members of the Twin Cities North Star Ski Touring Club, who have helped maintain the trail for many years.  Joining the volunteers on Saturday were two Forest Service crews charged with the responsibility of removing the down trees across the trail within the burn areas. Ten miles of the Banadad, the one-mile Tall Pines Trail and most of the three-mile Lace Lake Trail were cleared and pronounced ready for skiing.

The Banadad Trail Association’s Second Annual Meeting was held at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B  in conjunction with the trail clearing.  Officers elected at the Annual Meeting were Linda Bosma, Minneapolis, President, Andrew Jenks, Stillwater, Vice President, Kate Kelnburger, West Bearskin Lake, Treasurer, and Barbara Bottger, Hungry Jack Lake, Secretary. Rounding out this year’s Board as At-Large members are: John Bottger, Hungry Jack Lake; Wayne Monsen, Stillwater; Chris Matter, Hudson, Wisconsin; Peter Spink, Poplar Lake; Tom Rice, Minneapolis, Anne Rykken, St. Paul and Karla Miller, Duluth. Association members thanked Karen Monsen, the Association’s first president, for leading the organization through its initial two years.

Banadad Trail Association Board of Directors

Banadad Trail Association Board of Directors

As part of the Annual Meeting’s program the Association’s web manager, Tom Rice, treated those presented to a slide show on the weekend’s trail clearing. Ending the meeting was an outrageously hilarious skit entitled “the Loony Divas” staged by two members of the Association. Following the meeting a potluck dinner was held.

The Banadad Trail Association formed two years ago to preserve, maintain, and protect the Banadad Ski Trail, the longest tracked ski trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  The Association’s growing membership is made up of skiers, businesses, and individuals who want to ensure that the Trail continues to be a resource for skiers into the future.  According to Bosma, the Association’s new president, “I look forward to working with all our neighbors and partners in the coming year to implement the Banadad’s Trail Plan, increase our membership, and continue the work of the Association.  We are very grateful to all the volunteers who worked on the Trail this weekend.  The Banadad is in great shape!  We are ready for the snow and this year’s ski season.”

Lizard Lake Fire – Update 2

The following information on the Lizard Lake fire was posted by the Forest Service this morning:

NEWS RELEASE
Superior National Forest
August 30, 2010, 8:00 am
Lizard Lake Fire – Gunflint Ranger District

Situation Update – Monday, August 30, 2010
The weather Sunday was a mirror image of conditions on Saturday. The winds were strong 10 to 15 miles per hour with gusts to 25 miles per hour, temperatures were warm, and relative humidity was low. Despite this, the fire perimeter remained relatively the same. The overall fire size increased about 6 acres and the total fire area is estimated at 51 acres. The fire is very patchy with islands of unburned vegetation interspersed within the burn. Large water dropping aircraft, CL215s worked the north and east perimeters of the fire again on Sunday and were very effective in containing the spread of the fire in those directions. Weather conditions for Monday are expected to be similar as to what the fire has experienced over the past several days but the relative humidity is expected to be a little higher and there is an increasing chance of precipitation on Monday and Tuesday. The fire did receive some moisture overnight about 0.17 inches, the relative humidity is about 97 percent and winds are light.
Water dropping aircraft will be used again on Monday to cool the northern and eastern perimeter of the fire in preparation for another day of hot, windy weather.

Nature and Cause of Incident
Smoke was spotted on 8/26/10 by USFS fire personnel traveling on the Gunflint Trail. The origin of the fire is believed to be a lightning strike from a thunderstorm 7 – 10 days ago.

Location – Size – Fuels
The fire is in the BWCAW approximately 1 ½ miles north of Long Island Lake; 1 mile south of Dawkins Lake. The size is estimated at 45 acres at this time. Fuels in the vicinity include lowland conifers, tamarack and white spruce.

The fire is not near canoe travel routes and is not a threat to visitor safety or structures. The closest portages are: the Rib Lake to Lower George Lake Portage which is approximately ¾ mile to the west; and the Lower George to Karl Lake Portage which is approximately 1.5 miles to the SW. There are no closures or restrictions in the BWCAW as a result of this fire and none are anticipated.

Management Strategy
Vegetation in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is part of a fire adapted ecosystem. This fire is being managed to allow fire to play its natural role in the wilderness.

Contact Information
For current conditions:

check the Superior National Forest (SNF) web site, www.fs.usda.gov/superior;

SNF Information on Boreal News at: www.boreal.org.;

or call the Gunflint Office at 218-387-1750.

Fire by Lizard Lake- 1/2 mile Southwest of Banadad

Lizard Fire 2010Smoke was spotted on Aug. 26 by United States Forest Service (USFS) fire personnel traveling on the Gunflint Trail. The origin of the fire is believed to be a lighting strike from a thunderstorm 7 to 10 days ago.

The fire is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness approximately 1.5 miles north of Long Island Lake and 1 mile south of Dawkins Lake. The fire is less than a quarter acre in size and is currently smoldering on the ground with no open flames. Fuels in the vicinity include lowland conifers, tamarack and white spruce.

According to the USFS the fire is not near canoe travel routes and is not a threat to public safety or structures. The closest portages are Rib Lake to Lower George Lake which is approximately three-quarters of a mile to the west; and Lower George to Karl Lake Portage which is approximately 1.5 miles to the southwest.

The USFS says its current management strategy is to monitor the fire by air over the next several days. ShareThis