Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pagami Creek Wildfire

One more bit about the present before I get back to my summer recap.

For the past several weeks, there has been a huge forest fire going on in our area.  It was started by lightening inside the wilderness boundary, and a number of conditions - including high winds - caused it to grow beyond the wilderness.  Our property was never threatened - the fire started 14 miles east of town and we are 8 miles north, and then the wind pushed it away from us.  Although Scott works for the Forest Service, he is not one of the people involved in fighting fires.  Still, the fire has affected us.

For example, Scott was on a wilderness trip last week (conducting a biological survey) and got called home early when the Forest Service closed most of the BWCA entry points.  I had been told that he was no where near the fire and would be safe, but I was nevertheless relieved when he was called out.  Looking at the map, it didn't seem like he was really that far away from the fire . . . 

It is crazy the way this town has been taken over by firefighters from all over the country.  I drove by the USFS headquarters one night and it almost seemed like day, there were so many spotlights on.  I found it interesting that many of the firefighters needed to learn how to canoe before going into the field - that was something that hadn't occurred to me before.

In addition to firefighters, Governor Dayton and Senators Klobuchar and Franken were in town - here they are at a press conference with Scott's mural in the background:

I love that a friend from WA called this "a shot full of awesomeness".  To see a full view of the mural, click here.

The fire is still not contained, but a shift in the weather is helping somewhat.  This week Scott's team is pulling invasive weeds in a spot where firefighters will be camping.  The thought is to remove the weeds before the firefighters get the seeds on their pants and carry them into the wilderness. It is hard, manual labor and after seeing how tired Scott was last night, I can understand why sometimes he gets a little touchy about the flowers I choose to plant at Bog Ridge!

It has been amazing to watch this fire grow, and the process has affirmed my respect for Mother Nature and strengthened my awareness of the fact that everything can dramatically change very, very quickly.

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