Around Cook County
Highway 1 Fire Update
May 18, 2012
From the Minnesota Incident Command System
TODAY’S MESSAGE: The Highway 1 Fire was started by a snapped power line that created multiple fires at approximately 1:30 pm on 5/17/12. It is being managed in two divisions and is on both sides of Highway 1 about a quarter mile south of Ely. The southeastern portion of Ely was evacuated along with residents along Highway 1. The Ely residents were allowed to return home by evening. Those residents along Highway 1 were escorted by the St. Louis County Sheriff to briefly access their property and get pets and needed supplies.
A Verizon cell phone tower and both Lake Country Power and MN Power had affected equipment which caused a loss of cell phone coverage and the local radio station, WELY, was unable to transmit.
No homes were damaged however three outbuildings were confirmed lost.
ACTIVITIES TODAY: Aultman’s Type 2 Team A assumed command of the Highway 1 fire as of 0600 on 5/18/12.
CLOSURES: A closure remains in place along Highway 1 from Ely to approximately the Ely Airport.
SAFETY: Notice to Airmen 05/003 heightened caution of aerial firefighting operations within 5 nautical miles of Ely Airport. Please stay clear.
DATE OF DETECTION: May 17, 2012
CAUSE: Suspected downed power line
CURRENT SIZE: 216 acres
LOCATION: One quarter mile south of Ely along Highway 1
UNIFIED COMMAND: Forest Service, St. Louis County Sheriff, City of Ely Police and Fire Chiefs, Town of Morse Fire Chief
SMOKE CONDITIONS: South winds will blow smoke into Ely. Density will change throughout the day.
RESOURCES: Two helicopters and various other aircraft will be utilized. CL215s are available if needed. Fire fighters will be continuing suppression work throughout the fire area. Ely and Morse Township fire departments are assisting with structure protection.
The mystery of the yellow egg masses showing up on screens and windows throughout the area has been solved.
Cook County Extension Officer Diane Booth confirmed this morning that the eggs and tiny larvae probably belong to the variegated cutworm or Peridroma saucia (PERRY droma saw cee ya). People should remove the eggs from wherever they find them as soon as possible.
The Ashland Daily Press reports there also is a variegated cutworm invasion along the South Shore of Lake Superior and in northern Wisconsin. The worms will pupate into the adult form of cutworm moths.
The Daily Press says the current flight of cutworm moths that laid the eggs probably flew into our region from the South with the help of prevailing winds.
The best action to deal with the egg masses is to wash them off surfaces with pressure washers or garden hoses.
Workers with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) ventured into the woods in April to hang thousands of traps across Minnesota in the hunt for emerald ash borer (EAB).
Approximately 6,500 purple detection traps will be placed throughout the state in the search for EAB. This is about 2,000 more traps than hung in 2011. The trap is a three-paneled purple prism placed in an ash tree. A lure inside the trap smells like a stressed ash tree to the beetle. Once EAB is drawn to the purple detection trap, a sticky layer on the outside of the trap holds the beetle until MDA’s trappers can return and check for the insect.
Preliminary estimates show 51 traps will be placed in Cook County.
The main purpose of the survey is to detect new areas of infestation that should be quarantined to prevent spread from the area. When an area becomes quarantined, it is illegal to move all hardwood firewood and ash wood out of the quarantine boundaries.
Traps will be placed in areas identified by a risk-based model developed by the United States Department of Agriculture. If required, EAB traps may be placed on private property. Citizens are asked not to disturb traps. “This trapping survey is one of the few options we have for detecting EAB,” said Geir Friisoe, MDA’s plant protection division director. “That’s why it is so important that the public leaves the traps as they are so we can collect accurate and useful results.”
The emerald ash borer is an insect that attacks and kills ash trees. The adults are small, iridescent green beetles that live outside of trees during the summer months. The larvae are grub or worm-like and live underneath the bark of ash trees. Trees are killed by the tunneling of the larvae under the tree's bark.
A slate of new laws designed to curb the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) was approved in a recent bill passed by the Minnesota Legislature and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
A program requiring watercraft owners to place an AIS rules sticker on their boats is being discontinued and replaced with an online education program. Watercraft owners will no longer be required to place on their boats the rectangular, silver and black decals, which include a summary of the state’s AIS laws. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began distributing the decals earlier this year and will continue to give them to interested boat owners for informational purposes only.
A new law, which goes into effect 2015, will require anyone who transports watercraft or water-related equipment with a trailer to complete an online education course. After completing the course, the person will receive a decal that must be placed on their trailer, certifying they have taken the course. People taking the course can receive extra stickers if they own or use multiple trailers for watercraft or water-related equipment.
ELY, Minn. (AP) — Authorities in Ely have lifted an evacuation order and say they've gained the upper hand against a wildfire that threatened the town.
Scott Camps, emergency services manager for the St. Louis County sheriff's department, says crews have switched to mopping up, though it will likely take a day or longer to douse all the hot spots. Rain is predicted for Saturday.
The Duluth News-Tribune reports the fire started about 1:45 p.m., apparently when a vehicle drove over a downed power line on Minnesota Highway 1 about one mile south of town. Southerly winds gusting to 35 mph then blew the fire rapidly toward town, expanding it to about 150 acres by Thursday evening as it burned pine trees and dry grass along the way.
The southeast corner of Ely was the closest to the fire, and parts of the city were ordered evacuated by Mayor Roger Skraba. Rides were offered for anyone who couldn’t leave on their own. The Ely Echo newspaper reports school superintendent Kim Belcastro notified parents of students who live south of town to find other temporary homes for the children in the Ely area. School buses and all other modes of transportation were not allowed on Hwys 1 and 2.
WELY-FM used its website to notify people of the evacuations and approaching fire but its radio station was off the air because of the power outage.
The U.S. Forest Service took the lead in the fight, which involved several agencies at its peak. City Clerk Terry Lowell says Ely Fire Department crews returned to their base early Thursday evening.
How would you like to help a fledgling charter school meet its expenses in a challenging funding environment and get a chance to win a very big prize at the same time? With the help of the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, Oshki Ogimaag Community School is launching its first big fundraiser, a raffle with a $10,000 grand prize.
Second prize is a two-night stay in a three-bedroom cabin at Hollow Rock Resort in Grand Portage along with dinner and breakfast for two, valued at over $550. Third prize is a $200 gift certificate to North Shore Dairy.
Tickets will each cost $10 and only 2,000 will be sold. They will be sold at numerous locations and events throughout Cook County starting with the Elder’s Powwow at Grand Portage Community Center on May 12. Oshki Ogimaag students will be on hand at these events, providing opportunities for people to meet the students who will benefit from the sale.
The school will use the revenue from ticket sales for general operating expenses.
“What we get from the state doesn’t quite meet the needs,” said Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Director of Education Haley Brickner at a May 1 media kickoff at the school.
With state budget cuts and funding delays, staying afloat financially is challenging for Minnesota schools. “This is a fun way to raise money for the school,” she said.
More information on where to get tickets can be obtained by calling the school at (218) 475-2011. The prize drawing will take place at 1 p.m. Tuesday, September 4 at Oshki Ogimaag.