Aug 16-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: August: Aug 16-06
Keweenaw Point fire-spotting    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
DNR Firefighters hoseline    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Looking north    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Surveying the acreage burned    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 08:30 am:

We're taking flight with E. Neil Harri once again, cruising over the scene of the Keystone Bay brush fire on the tip of the Keweenaw. Neil snapped a number of photos from the distant vista, showing the general location of the smoke on the the one so close in that you can see the DNR Firefighters with hoses and spraying water. The last two shots were taken on different days, giving you an idea of the expanse of acreage that's been burned. According to reports I've read, the blaze is contained now, having covered 129 acres, but the DNR is stating that it could actually take months for the fire to be completely extinguished. Good thing there are no homes around the immediate area.

By dlp (Babyseal) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 08:35 am:

Good morning! Awesome pictures, even though it is a sad sight to see. Time and Mother Nature will hopefully restore the site to it's natural beauty. My kudos to all those hardworking firefighters for doing such a great job. It looked like very hard, exhausting work.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 08:39 am:

The pictures are wonderful, but the fire isn't. Such a tragedy!

By FJL (Langoman) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 08:44 am:

Has it been determined how the fire started??

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 08:49 am:

Too bad the wind was in the south and not north, otherwise the firefighters could have sat back and watched it burn to the lake.....

It might be a sad sight, but fire can be very beneficial to a forest to clear underbrush and such. That is the biggest problem why the western fires are so intense. For many years the USFS and BLM, with pressure from environmental groups, have had long standing policies against removing down/dead trees and underbrush from the forests. Once a fire develops in these areas, it is impossible to stop!! Now those policies are being reversed and lightning-started fires are allowed to burn in remote areas of the west.

My father worked wildfires in the LP and will tell you it is very hard and nasty work, especially if it's in the 90's-100's.

By Mel, Kansas (Mehollop) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 08:49 am:

Speaking as a forester, the fire is actually quite beneficial. Many of the tree species that we're accustomed to seeing up in the tip require bare mineral soil in order to regenerate - white pine, jack pine, birch/aspen, etc. Fire is a part of the natural landscape - many species depend on it in their life cycles.

Looking at the photos, the larger trees have survived with little or no damage, and will act as a seed source. The soil looks fairly sandy, so now that some of the brushy stuff is gone, tree seedlings should be able to get the light that they need to make a bid for the upper reaches.

Kudos to the fire crew for keeping the flames down on the ground, and out of the crowns!

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 09:02 am:

I remember "back-when" there were one or two wildfires on Isle Royale and they would come to the Copper Country and recruit high-school boys to go to fight the fires...

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 09:22 am:

I don't know anything about the area of this fire. My wife and I were on a short vacation trip in the late summer of 1978 after she had finished a series of chemo treatments. The Seney National Wildlife refuge fire had happened a little while before. We went north of Manistique on 94, then with the aid of our Michigan County maps , took a two track trail (east of 94)northward to M-28. The fire had burned through the area but didn't seem to have done much severe damage to the larger trees in that area. The undergrowth had burned off and it was all ready greening up with new grass. that was the height of the CB craze (cell phone BC). I was talking with a area native on the CB and he suggested that the burning of the old growth was actually a very good thing for the wildlife. Seems like that fire lasted several weeks. I remember seeing a big marshalling area on the south side of M-28 for all the fire fighting equipment.

By Cindy Barga (Hoosiergirl) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 09:28 am:

Can someone tell me how to post a picture here. I have a picture of the fire taken on August 4th, from Brockway Mountain. Thank you.

By Nate (Nalwine) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 10:00 am:

Something interesting about forest fires, on a backpacking trip in Pukaskwa National Park on the north shore of Lake Superior we learned that the NPS actually purposly creates controlled forest fires for the benefit of the forest. The picture in the link below was actually taken about 50 miles from the nearest road. As you can see there is a fire hose in the bottom of the picture that the NPS put there along with other gear (dropped off by boat I think) because they were planning a controlled burn in the area later in the year.
(at least that's what the visitor center told us

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 10:04 am:

A couple of years ago my sister-in-law and I drove back toward the mouth of the Montreal River to view the falls. Very near the end of the road a campers fire was smoking on the edge of the lake/cliff. We only had two empty 12 oz. pop cans and I climbed down to the lake and tossed full ones up to her which she caught and poured (half full by then)on the ground. We thought we put it out and walked the rest of the way into the falls, took pictures and went back to the car. When we got there there were open flames on the campsite where we thought we'd put out the fire so we tried again. The south wind was forcing air up through the rocks and underground coals and keeping the organic matter there burning. We stopped at Smith's fisheries on the way out to see if we could borrow a bucket to thoroughly soak the area (nobody home) and eventually called the Fort Wilkins DNR office to report our find and have them keep an eye on the area. Dry weather and high winds keep a fire burning underground far longer than I thought posssible.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 10:16 am:

Very true Nate, the USFS and NPS does indeed start "controlled" burns in areas where thick underbrush needs to be cleared; it is one of the best methods for doing so and as Mel stated, it is very beneficial to the forest.

I put controlled in quotation marks however because if not done properly it can go very wrong. Case in point, the Los Alamos Fire in New Mexico in 2000. In this case, the agency in charge wanted to do a control burn on an area many miles west of the town. Ignoring weather warnings about dry windy conditions, they lit the fire anyways, which quickly got out of control and raced toward Los Alamos. When it was over, 50,000 acres had burned, over 200 homes destroyed, and around $800 million in losses. At the time I was living about 3 hours south and you could see the smoke from the fire.

It seems man still hasn't completely harnessed the power of fire ;-)

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 10:19 am:

Could someone point out a few landmarks in the first picture? Thanks.

By Joe Przywara (Joep) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 10:33 am:

Landmarks, hmmmmm, well here is a map that may help:


By James Ludos (Homesick) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 10:39 am:

I recall a fire somewhere around Eagle River Eagle Habor area in the late 70's or early 80's. I don't really remember any more it was so long ago, but there were so few people to fight the fire that a call went out for help. Quite a few folks showed up, including myself, to help keep it from spreading. Some of us would go after work and stay all night working along a line with shovels and racks clearing brush. Maybe someone else can remember more about it.

By JanieT (Bobbysgirl) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 10:55 am:

What is the name of the lake in the top pic? I have only been to the U.P. a few times. Thankyou!

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 11:06 am:

Nate....What a lovely spot!!..You said North Shore of Lake Superior...Is Pukaskwa Natl Park in Canada?

By k j (Kathiscc) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 11:45 am:

Hey, Cindy Barga- Don't know, wish I did, maybe drop Mary Drew an email?

By Mike Ellis (Lsigrandson) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 11:51 am:

JanieT....The lake visible in the photo is Schlatter Lake.

By Nate (Nalwine) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 12:18 pm:

Mary Lou, Yes Pukaskwa National Park is in Canada, and it is a stunning place. Its a very rugged park with 1 campground (Hattie Cove) that you can drive to and several day hike trails, but they only cover a small portion of the park. There is one backpacking trail (the costal trail which is what we hiked on that trip, and two fantastic canoe routes on the White and Pukaskwa Rivers. It's terrain is so mountainous that Highway 17 was forced to be routed a good deal inland from Lake Superior as running it along the Lake Superior Shore seemed impossible at the time the highway was buit.

Check out:

for more info

By Bob Gilreath (Bobg) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 12:51 pm:

From Right to left top photo

schlatter lake
Hoar lake
Breakfast lake
lake Addie

Fished um all ;-)

great photo's as always

By Bob Gilreath (Bobg) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 01:06 pm:

actually looking again, the one on far left is Hoar lake with the two in the middle smaller lakes that I haven't been on.


By Bob Gilreath (Bobg) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 01:27 pm:

lets try this link to see if it works.

click here

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 01:51 pm:

There we go, Bob. That map shows more detail, like the lake names. And the crescent beach on the left would be Keystone Bay which I've never heard mentioned.

Joe, your map was good for getting oriented but the detail was missing.

Thanks, both of you.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 02:13 pm:

The staying power of fires is really awesome. I visited a friend in the Marquette area once, and his sauna had burned down the night before. The fire was completely out and had not burned along the ground. However, it had burned a hole in the turf. For that whole day he was pouring big buckets of water and shoveling snow into the hole. It was very cold weather. Next day when I left, the fire was still smoldering in the ground.

By Laurie B. (Ratherberiding) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 05:18 pm:

There was a fire at Seney several years back that I think, burned most of the summer and into the fall. Maybe someone remembers this better. Richard??

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 06:05 pm:

Laurie B. I believe that was 1978, the one I mentioned above.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 07:07 pm:

assart: gap, expanse

By Dave (Daveintemecula) on Thursday, August 17, 2006 - 12:10 am:

Great discussion. Living on the border of San Diego and Riverside Counties in Southern California has given us front row seat for many wildfires. As Capt. Paul stated above, controlled burns are nearly impossible to contain given the amounts of brush that have built up during decades of aggressive fire fighting. Its like trying to burn off one corner of a pan of gasoline.
Firefighters here do an amazing job of saving houses and other structures. One of the few upsides of living a highly populated area is the amount of equipment that can be dispatched. Its quite site to see upwards of a hundred fire engines rolling to one of these fires to park in the driveways of rural homes to keep the flames at bay.

By fy1 (Formeryooper1) on Tuesday, August 22, 2006 - 06:15 pm:

I also came across that same campfire burning with no one around a few years ago. There was a slide set up on the drop to the beach to raise and lower kayaks/canoes at the campsite, I'm assuming that was the same fire as you referred to the cliff at the lake.

Also, we used to call the sand portion of the bay- Union Bay and the rocky portion was Keystone Bay, I don't know if anyone else recalls the use of the two names.

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