LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES - FRIDAY JULY 1ST
UPDATE: WILWIN FIRE - 4:52pm
The fire remains at approximately 38 acres in size and experienced little growth. The Incident Commander, Brenda Dale just completed a helicopter recon flight and reports good progress as far as keeping the fire confined. Difficult access to the area and limited ability to get equipment into the fire location are driving the “confine” strategy. The area is bounded by wet swamps which has stopped the fire’s spread to the north.
Crews have cleared a trail into the south perimeter of the fire for a “Marsh Master” fire apparatus (basically a fire engine designed to go through swamps and marsh lands) and been able to get the Marsh Master to the perimeter of the fire. Crews have also cleared out and created a “helispot” (landing zone) for a medium sized helicopter, which can transport firefighters to the fire perimeter and drop buckets of water where needed. There is currently a medium sized “407” helicopter assisting with the effort. As part of the suppression of the fire, crews will likely be utilizing “burn out” tactics over the coming days. This entails firefighters igniting areas of vegetation adjacent to natural fuel breaks (swamps) to rob the fire of available fuel and keep it within a confined perimeter. The burn out operations will likely result in visible smoke from the fire area over the next few days.
Crews also discovered the point of origin of the fire today. As expected, it was a lightning strike tree, which probably started burning as a result of last Saturday’s lightning storm that passed through the area. As conditions warm up and dry out again, we may have additional fires pop up from lightning strike “holdovers”. These fires can burn for days, and sometimes weeks in the root systems of the lightning struck tree undetected, until it burns to the surface vegetation.
With the natural fire starts keeping crews busy, we’d like to remind residents and visitors to please be careful with fire and make sure their campfires are 100% out. Even with the recent rain, we remain in High Fire Danger in the Central and Eastern UP. The red and jack pine stands dry out quickly after rain and will burn readily.
Trout Lake Fire Update
Hiawatha National forest Fire Manager Jon Agner told Eagle 96.7 earlier this afternoon that the fire northwest of Trout Lake, known as the "Wilwin Fire" is approximately 38 acres in size. The fire, believed to be started by lightning, is in a remote part of the forest and is a tough spot for crews to access. The fire is contained to North by swamps, and is no longer believed to be able to move further in that direction. The forest service didn't see much activity with the fire this morning, but did expect some burning this afternoon as temperatures and winds increase. Crews are using Marsh dozers to access the area of the fire and assist crews. There are no structures in the immediate area of the fire, and it isn't considered a threat to the public. Agner said "It's actually the perfect spot for a forest fire, if there is such a place..." The Hiawatha National Forest will continue to monitor the incident and will be downgrading the status from a Type 3 to Type 4 as progress continues to be made. Stay tuned for more updates from Eagle 96.7.