July 22, 2014

Firefighters Continuing Suppression Efforts in Ely Wildland Fire (Photo Gallery)

By KBJR News 1

Gallery

20 photos

May 17, 2012 Updated Oct 22, 2013 at 7:36 PM CDT

Ely, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Firefighters are continuing their suppression efforts of the wild land fire that started on May 17th just south of Ely.

Airmen will also continue with heightened caution aerial fire fighting efforts around the Ely Airport. Authorities are asking resident to steer clear of the area as the airmen continue their fire fighting efforts.

Authorities say a south wind will be blowing smoke into Ely with varying density throughout the day.

Part of Highway 1 between the city and the airport is still closed due to suppression efforts.

After the evacuation of Ely was called off last night, residents were able to return to their homes. Residents along Highway 1, however, were only able to briefly access their homes to gather pets and essential supplies.

No homes were damaged in the fire, however three structures were deemed a total loss.

Authorities say that the fire started due to a spark from a downed power line around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The fire reportedly covered 216 acres about a mile south of Ely before fire crews were able to contain the blaze.

The Inter-agency Fire Center in Grand Rapids sent in an air tanker as well as multiple helicopters to help fight the fire.

The Northland Chapter of the Northern Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross deployed staff, volunteers, and resources to help those affected by the fire.

“We’ve been asked to set up a shelter by St. Louis County Emergency Management,” said Northland Chapter executive director Judy Hanne Gonzalez,” and we are sending a team of volunteers from Britt and Duluth, including Deb Holkko, Diane Dunder, and Calvin McCuskey to respond.” The chapter is also deploying its Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) to the scene.

“The ERV will deliver cool water, snacks, and comfort kits of personal hygiene items to the scene.” The Red Cross has established a shelter at the Ely Community Center, 30 S. First Avenue E., she said. Anyone affected by the blaze should move to safety there.

A Verizon cell phone tower, Lake Country Power and MN Power were affected during the fire. Cell phone coverage was lost and the local radio station WELY was unable to transmit.


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