July 5, 2002 - Cook County Star
Crews fight wildfire in Hovland
By Rhonda Silence
Conditions change rapidly when it comes to fighting wildfires, as
was witnessed on the evening of Wednesday, July 3 when a lightning
strike fire grew from approximately 80 acres to 400 acres overnight.
The fire, dubbed the "Tuesday
Fire" was spotted on July 2 in a section of dead balsam on
private land near the Powers Lake Road and the Camp 20 Road in the
On the early afternoon of July 3, Department of Natural Resources
Information Officer Ron Sanow said the Tuesday Fire was 90%
contained and there were no advancing flames. Local building
contractors were on hand with bulldozers and fire fighters were
mopping up the blaze on the ground and from overhead, with a DNR
Type 3 Bell 206 helicopter and two larger CL-215 helicopters.
However, later in the evening, the wind rows of dead balsam slash
burned very hot and high winds from the north west blew embers out
of the containment area. At press time on July 4, Forest Service
Information Officer Marty Christensen said the fire was only 20%
contained. It was burning in Grand Portage State Forest.
Three CL-215s and the smaller helicopter worked most of the
afternoon until dark at keeping the Tuesday Fire contained. About
5:00 p.m. an additional aircraft was requested from Canada. A CL-415
was sent and worked on the fire until dark. A total of 151 airdrops
were done through the night.
Additional crews also arrived to aid in suppression on July 4. At
press time about 135 people were working on the fire.
Christensen said no structures were in danger. One cabin in the area
was threatened and the Hovland Volunteer Fire Department responded
and stood by as a precaution. Cabins on Tom Lake were nearest to the
fire, at two miles, but Christensen said they were probably not in
danger. He added that the lighter wind from the south east would
help reduce the fire's spread.
In a phone interview on the day before the fire was spotted, Laurie
Spry, DNR Head Dispatcher and Office Administration Specialist said
the DNR was concerned because the tent forest caterpillar invasion
had eliminated the forest canopy, which keeps the ground cool and
dry. That, coupled with high winds and high temperatures, increase
the danger of fire. She said fire danger was moderate, but added it
was very important for the public to use caution as that could
The Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS), an interagency team
of the Forest Service, DNR, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park
Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Minnesota Department
of Public Safety, joined local authorities in cautioning the public
to use extreme care.
For up-to-the-minute fire information, visit www.boreal.org and
click on Fire Information. Local radio station, WTIP also provides
up-to-the-minute information on their morning and evening Community
Calendar programs at 9:00 and 6:00 p.m. For additional information
on how to protect your home or cabin from wildfire, see Preparing a
house for wildland fire season on page 2A; visit www.firewise.org or
contact the local Firewise Communities group at (218) 387-3059.