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7:40 am. We are still here, but the news is not very good this morning.

9/13/11 – 7:40 am. We are still here, but the news is not very good this morning. The Pagami Creek fire made a 15 mile run yesterday, mostly to the north and east. The Forest Service pilot this morning is reporting that the fire reached the south shore of Polly Lake and some canoeists who paddled from Polly to Kawishiwi Lake reported fire on both sides of the route. We haven’t heard an official report of the total size of the fire, but it’s likely that the fire is over 20,000 acres now, which makes it one of the largest fires in Minnesota’s history.
The Forest Service is evacuating all the canoe parties that are west of Sawbill today. The entry points to the east of us, Baker Lake, Homer Lake and Brule Lake remain open, but the smoke will likely be bad today with west winds predicted. Public safety is their top concern and they are trying to stay at least 24 hours ahead of the fire with evacuations. If you are holding a wilderness entry permit for the Kawishiwi Lake, Hog Creek or Sawbill entry points, the Forest Service will be calling you to help you relocate to other entry points.
The good news is that we received almost .2″ of rain yesterday and there are showers predicted for today. The temperature has dropped dramatically and frost is predicted for tonight. Although strong westerly winds are predicted for today, which will move the fire toward us, the winds are supposed to switch to northwesterly later today which should move the fire away from us.
Right here at Sawbill we have a very effective outdoor sprinkler system, so we are relatively confident that our buildings will survive even if the fire sweeps through here. While this is all very scary and upsetting, wildfire is inevitable in this ecosystem. It really isn’t a matter of if there will be a fire, it’s just a matter of when.
We’ll post regular updates here. Keep us in your thoughts. – Bill