Saturday, May 26, 2012

Duck Lake Fire and a Great Dunes / Beach Hike

On Wednesday lightning sparked a fire north of Newberry which has now spread to over 30,000 acres. There is a burning ban now in 49 counties. At the peak on Thursday night the fire was burning almost two square miles per hour as a result of 50 mph winds and extremely dry conditions. The governor has declared a state of emergency to free up more resources to help fight the fire, which is located a little more than an hour east of Grand Marais.  Today the winds are switching to come from the east so we will probably be able to smell the smoke.
Here is an aerial photo that was posted on the Internet by the Soo Evening News.

Here is a DNR photo of the flames.

Below is a map of the active fire area, which is long and narrow.  Right in the middle on the Lake Superior Shoreline section of the active fire is the location of Rainbow Lodge.  Owner Kathy Robinson called me the middle of the day on Thursday and ordered a case of my agate books.  They were evacuated early Thursday evening, according to DNR sources.  Sometime Thursday night the fire spread that way.  It appears that the Rainbow Lodge is no longer standing.  I didn't hear until after I dropped the case of books off at the post office yesterday.  I immediately went back to the post office to stop shipment.  My heart goes out to Kathy and Richard Robinson, as well as to everyone else who has lost structures to this fast spreading fire.  Thankfully, there have been no injuries due to aggressive mandatory evacuations.

This is a photo I took last night from the sand dunes as I looked east toward the fire.  The haze is smoke from the fire.

I must admit that the fire upset me, so I decided to take a long hike in the dunes.

I parked at Sable Falls and walked through the woods into the dunes.

I love these little plants.

Even dandelions can be beautiful.

A reversed Photoshop version....

A close up....

The transition zone between the forest and the dunes is a constant battle between trees and sand.

This is the path that goes through the transition zone.

Distant white birch trees....

Dune flower....

Some of the evergreens have so much new growth that they look abnormal.

I could tell that the sunset was going to be terrific.

After hiking to the middle of the dunes, I headed back northeast toward the Ghost Forest.

Along the way I spotted this dune resident home.

Below is a Photoshoped version of some dune flowers.

There were some high clouds that the setting sun had to clear.

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing wrong with admitting that a wildfire is an upsetting event. Fire is a part of nature and helps to regenerate the forest, but under nature's terms. Such uncontrolled burns are the result of careless human action done during a time of extreme dry conditions. The forests of Superior should normally burn in different areas, with mixed severity, only every 250 years or so. They would start by lightning, and be controlled by the same storms, providing enough moisture to effectively "cage" the scorched area. In this case, however, it was probably someone being very careless with a cigarette or even a chainsaw. Hopefully the rains crossing the land will take care of the problem soon.