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8/19/05 – After hundreds of hours working to contain the forest fire near Seagull Lake, the fire crew expects to achieve 100 percent containment by 6 p.m. this evening. Fire fighters have traveled from across the nation to battle the flames, many expressing surprise that, for the first time in their careers, they had to paddle into the fire zone. Comments like these make many of us at Sawbill realize how easy it is to take the unique, serene environment afforded by the BWCAW for granted.
With over $2 million of damage done in the Seagull/Alpine Lake fire, it is astonishing to see that some people can be so careless with their own wilderness practices. The photos below show a small fire put out by some curious and well-meaning paddlers on Handle Lake just west of Sawbill. Apparently the previous occupants had decided that the campsite-less lake should have a place to stay, and they went about the creation of their own new site. The trees they cut down caught on fire when they abandoned their camp and didn’t put their campfire “dead out.”
Here is documentation of the crashed site.