Monday, June 18, 2012

The Aftermath of the UP Wildfire

7:00 p.m. As I sit here at my desk, under the glow of a stained glass lamp, soaking in the sounds of a passing thunderstorm - the fourth line to travel through the UP today - and catching out of the corner of my eye a glimpse of a lightning flash that resembles the passing of a gigantic firefly by my window, I am reminded of how welcomed this steady downpour of rain would have been appreciated weeks back when the wildfire was in full swing. More about that to come...

Yesterday, after church, we took a ride to the St. Mary's River for a Father's Day brunch at the Cozy Corners. I was very excited to witness two tugs, one in front and one in back, navigate a barge downbound to the Rock Cut. The Rock Cut is a narrow passageway through, you guessed it, lots of rock that make up part of the St. Mary's River system. The picture below is not mine, but it gives you a sense of what the freighters navigate through. It is hard to get a closeup picture of the Rock Cut as there is private property along this part of the river. Later in the day we did see the sister to the Algomarine, the Algoma Spirit, both from a Canadian fleet.

The barge and two tugboats

The Algoma Spirit

After dinner, we traveled west, then north to Paradise, then west again. As of June 11, they have allowed everyone back into the area of the wildfire. We traveled down this plush green snowmobile trail...

...but knew we were getting closer when we saw the brown foliage.

Little Lake Harbor is a beautiful lake on the edge of Lake Superior with access to the big lake. There are many cottages that surround this peaceful body of water.

The top left of this picture is where the fire hit. When it reached as far north as it could go, Lake Superior snuffed it out.

To the left of the sand harbor, you can make out the brown trees.

We couldn't tell the extent of the damage.

It appears as though the logging companies are trying to salvage what's left of the burnt trees and hopefully find a good use for them.

An eerie sight - but notice the hardy ferns amidst the black ash.

A logging production was already in place before the fire.

Acres and acres into the horizon.
Makes me wonder, where do all the animals go?

This house was saved - barely

But the owners of this garage weren't that fortunate.

The area is now quiet. Only the occasional curious passerby or a roaming member of the fire department occupies the area, and, of course, the loggers will return today. But the fire extinguishers are gone, all the helping hands and departments faded back into their lives like ghosts that were never here. But they were here. Setting up camps for food and sleep, working in a dangerous smoke-filled environment. 

God bless them all.

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