Saturday, May 19, 2012

Of course the big news this week was the fire.
I learned about it from my son who snuck out a text from school saying they had seen smoke and wondered if I knew anything.
I did not. I texted my wife who works at city hall and knows all and she told me about it.
Apparently the wind knocked out a power line and that had started the fire.


They had gone to the roof of city hall and could see the flames and smoke in the east and the helicopters and planes. (Where do those guys come from? It couldn't have been a half and hour since things started and there were two huge water bombers, three helicopters and two spotter planes among many other vehicles and people. How did they get here so fast? Who are they? They just appeared... it was amazing. Also the local Ely and Ely area firefighters who immediately dropped whatever they were doing to take care of things...).

I never look at Twitter, (mostly way to much useless information and I just don't have the time for it), but at this point I turned to Twitter to see if there was any chatter and there was none.
I tweeted what I had heard and shortly after that my electrical power, internet, and cell phone were cut off and so I was out of touch completely, (right now might be a good time to think about switching to ATT. People with ATT were walking around chatting away, while I, (Verizon), had nothing...)

Even a battery powered radio didn't help. The local radio station was not able to broadcast over the air. I imagine it had to do with the power being out, though I heard they were still streaming on the web but that didn't help me. (I heard later they stopped by city hall looking for a generator they could use...?!?)

Baseball practice was canceled so I picked up my son and stopped in at city hall to see what was going on.
Everybody was there of course but things seemed relatively calm. There was nothing you could do but wait and see.
I loaded up a few 5 gallon cans of gas for my generator and went home.

We went back later to the edge of town where you could see the fire fighters working. The whole town was there watching... like a parade. The smoke was still thick over that end of town.

The emergency was over by about 6:00 and my wife came home.
We listened to the hum of the generator through the evening and had a glass of wine and thought a little bit about what you would take and what you would leave... I'm sure that's what everyone was thinking at that point, but there were a few people that had to actually make that decision very quickly on Thursday... 


The wind was blowing to the north, (it was very windy), and, though we are only a couple miles from the fire, (to the south east), other than the power and communications being down, we were not threatened.

Sometime during the night the power was fixed, (It always amazes me how those guys get that stuff fixed so fast all the time. I expected this one to last days...). The internet was back up in the morning and I started getting a little more info.

Here are some links to some of the news, (there was lots of news people here even the BBC):

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_20657698/thanks-bbc-crew-ely-wildfire-gained-worlwide-attention

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/231873/

/http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/05/17/disaster/ely-wildfire/

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/?podcast_url=http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/nyc.podcast.play.it/media/d0/d0/d1/d0/dJ/d5/dQ/10J5Q_3.MP3%3Fauthtok%3D5561775923935498966_gzfMwhm8e4jvnbZHDQl6Ggw9o&podcast_name=5-18-12+Sports+to+the+Max:+7+PM+Hour&podcast_artist=Mike+Max&station_id=82&tag=pages&dcid=CBS.MINN

Local Ely guy Steve Foss has a lot of good pix on line:
https://www.facebook.com/stevefossimages

...and of course the local coverage is at the Ely Echo or the Timberjay, but I think they will make you pay for it this time...

The black outline in the picture above shows the perimeter of the fire.