New Communication For the Pagami Creek Firefight

By KBJR News 1

September 16, 2011 Updated Sep 16, 2011 at 6:49 PM CDT

With a little heat, and a little wind the Pagami Creek Fire could awaken from its slumber and continue its destructive path through the Boundary Water Canoe Wilderness.

Early this morning companies rolled into Isabella Minnesota to set up temporary cell phone towers to expand the only reliable source of communication for the Pagami Creek fire fighting effort.

More firefighters arrived at the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wildness to continue the fight.

Black, charred trees are scattered in the sea of green where crews are working to prevent the spread of the already 101,000 acres smoldering...and waiting for the right conditions to re–ignite.

But it wasn't just more fight fighters arriving early Friday Morning.

Companies setting up temporary cell phone towers to provide the essential communication in the land where cell phone service is little to none and radio's just don't cut it.

"They work but the range is three to for miles usually and we got guys spread over 16–20 miles out here"

So cell phones are the only option, providing direct communication for strategic fire firefighting work and providing the crew in the field piece of mind...and safety.

"Now this C.O.W. or cell cite on wheels extends to about 100 feet when they find a place to set up"

The companies sub–contracted to set up the cell towers are working on getting them as close to the "hot zone" as possible while keeping their gear safe in case the wind changes.

"We want to get as close as possible but with the winds changing it's unpredictable how they come up with where they want it here, with fire ya know with flood it's one thing you know where the water is going to be but with fire and wind it changes daily"

Vertical Limit has brought up two towers to providing full service up to six miles each.

They plan on getting the towers up as soon as they get the o.k. for the perfect spot.

Now Vertical Limit specializes in setting up temporary cell phone towers in disastrous situations.

They work similar to a fixed cell phone tower expect they are shorter and of course mobile.

In a recent court ruling actually stopped the construction of an AT&T tower after the group Friends of the Boundary Waters filed suit.

But in a case like this, the ability to communicate by cell phone is absolutely critical to the crews doing this dangerous work.

Written for the web by: Zach Vavricka