Aug 08-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: August: Aug 08-07
Sleeper Lake Firefight    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Twin Blackhawks    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Grab a bucket    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Zooming the action    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 04:26 am:

For days, men and machinery have been battling the Sleeper Lake fire in Luce County near Tahquamenon Falls. Today's Pasty Cam rides along with one of those men in his machine, as Neil Harri reports from the skies of the eastern U.P. Rarely do we get to look down on a Blackhawk, but Neil caught two of them in action, as the bucket brigade hustled to slow the flames.

As of last night the extent was estimated to be over 14,000 acres, as the wind and heat made the fight even that much tougher. The DNR said the fire probably was started by lightning strikes last Thursday, as dry conditions continue across the entire Upper Peninsula. The largest fire in recent memory was the Tower Lake fire in western Marquette County which blackened 5,625 acres in 1999.

Our thanks to Neil Harri for his ongoing role as the Pasty Cam's eye-in-the-sky. Incidentally, to upload his high resolution pictures, Neil uses Northpines/Pasty.NET wireless in Eagle Harbor, which is undergoing an upgrade this week. He called me last night as we had to do some tweaking to the bandwidth to help expedite the photos to the Guest Gallery. Pasty.NET members in Eagle Harbor should see some improved performance in the Wi-Fi network by the end of the week.

By Smfwixom (Trollperson) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 04:36 am:

These pictures are something else....sure wish we could send some of our rain up there to help in the battle!

By Theresa R Brunk (Trb0013) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 05:57 am:

Bless those men for the work that they do. I'm praying the fires are put out quickly. Anything this harrowing must be a challange to remain safe and still act as a group effort.

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 06:01 am:

How many acres were involved in the Seney National Wildlife Refuge fire in 1978 I believe?

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 06:57 am:

I should mention the airspace is closed for a six mile radius around the fire. I took these photos while working on the fire.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 07:09 am:

Geez Neil. Great shots! That's so awful what is happening there. We were through that area just a day or two before it started. I feel so sorry for the people who are close to it.

By s. dearing (Geebeed) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 07:41 am:

Amazing pictures! Thanks you for sharing.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 08:32 am:

What an act of heroism to fight such a devastating force. Thanks guys.

By shawn (Twoyoopers) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 08:38 am:

A blackhawk flew by our house on Monday- seemed just barely above tree level as it flew along Lake Superior. When the winds shift to the south, we are smelling smoke. This fire is a monster.

By shawn (Twoyoopers) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 08:40 am:

btw which direction the top pic facing- north?

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 09:03 am:

Never seen that view before, hope they are successful.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 09:16 am:

Outstanding pics! Really shows the devestation of this fire.

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 09:41 am:

Great pics Neil. The third picture says "zooming the action". I'm not sure what I am seeing. Is this the result of super imposing one picture on another?

By Helen (Heleninhubbel) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 09:52 am:

WOW.....incredible pic's. Great job Mr Harri. What was your job in the fire...???? You sure have given us a first hand look at things. God Bless all you that have is humbling thinking of this kind of natural could happen anywhere and we should be thankful we don't have to live this..

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 10:12 am:

There is an informative thread on this fire over at (general discussion, misc.)

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 11:03 am:

Those are awesome pictures from an angle that most people never get to see, Neil. Thank you!

Isn't this the fire that they did not even try to fight at first because it was essentially in the wilderness? Do I remember that they are still only fighting it from one direction?

By Charlotte, Mishawaka, IN (Charlotte61) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 12:31 pm:

Good afternoon from Mishawaka, IN. It is another hot and humind day here in Mishawaka. I was over at school this morning and the football team was out practicing. I don't know how they do it.

Neil, thanks for sharing the pictures of the Sleeper Lake fire. I have spent a lot of time in that area. I pray for the safety of those fighting the fire.

By Robert H. Baker (Rhb) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 12:53 pm:

This is sad for two reason's. First that 14,000 acres have been burned and that this is th first I'v heard of this down state. Ill pray for the safty of those fire fight's fighting that blaze up there.

By Ken Scheibach (Kscheibach) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 12:59 pm:

Thank you for the timely photos, Neil. The Grand Rapids area TV and press have been covering the fire everyday. Today they are reporting that the fire has grown to more than 19,000 acres. There was about a third of an inch of rain there last night but unfortuneatly it doesn't look promising for rain over the next week. Lets hope they are wrong. Most of the rain that fell last night probably evaporated, from the heat of the fire, before it hit the ground. Great photos Neil.

By Ken Scheibach (Kscheibach) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 01:38 pm:

Paul, like you I immediately recalled the Seney National Wildlife Refuge fire. I remember that it made the national news for a few days. I did a little research and discovered that the fire consumed nearly 75,000 acres in 1976. Let's pray that no records or lives are broken with the Sleeper Lake fire. See page 32 of this document.

By Mooselover (Mooselover) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 02:12 pm:

God bless the firemen! This is real tragedy. It just makes my heart ache.

By Donna (Donna) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 05:21 pm:


And thank you Neil...phenomenal photos!

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 06:47 pm:

I know forest fires are an important part of nature's workings. But I'm torn by doubts about how much this is partly our fault. Just watching tonight's evening news of how screwy the weather is all over the world, I wonder if our selfish consumption of natures gifts and reserves isn't bringing this down on our heads, the future of our generations coming up!? The Lord be with all the firefighters.

By Walter P McNew (Waltermcnew) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 07:36 pm:

fires have been around since the earth was born

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 08:33 pm:

Thank you for the link to the final ecological assessment of the 1976 Seney fire, Ken. I was not aware of that fire or report because we lived out of state then. But, it seems to mirrors what they are finding across the country. For a long time, all fires were put out, regardless of cause and environment. But after the Yellowstone National Park fire of 1988 that burned over half of the park, and apparently the Seney one, too, they found that if you put out all fires immediately, the fuel (trees, bushes, et al) builds up over time, making for a much bigger disaster in the future). The current thinking goes more along the lines that as long as it is a natural fire (started by lightening, etc), and it is not endangering dwellings and buildings, they will just try to contain it, hopefully reducing the impact of future fires. Fires that are caused by people are put out. We saw Yellowstone in 1974 and 2004. There was no comparison, and it will not be fully restored in our lifetime.

Another example is what happened with the recent South Lake Tahoe fire. Many people lost their homes, yet a few homes stood, even in the middle of the fire. The homes that stood had actually violated the local "green" laws, by clearing out all trees, bushes, pine needles, etc, within 50 feet of a dwelling on all sides. In addition, the dwellings that survived had metal or tile roofs, so that sparks would not ignite the roofs. It was amazing to see pictures of a totally burned out neighborhood, with 1 or 2 houses still standing & inhabitable. There is a lot to be learned there, I think.

By Tim Holland (Tholland) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 10:14 pm:

Great photos by E. Neil, as always. I know this subject has been covered countless times about Neil managing to take pictures while flying solo, but I can't help but wonder how he is while driving a car. He could probably eat a Taco Bell Double Meat Burrito Supreme, a sloppy Joe and a tostada in succession without veering over the centerline or spilling any food on himself.

By Uncle Chuck @ Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 10:24 pm:

Your right Tim, he's SUPER NEIL!

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - 11:08 pm:

It was another long day but the fire is holding with light wind allowing the dozers to build lines. We had the Blackhawks working again today. I work as air boss directing the airdrops and helping dozers pick their way through the swamps and terrian. I give the ground supervisors whtever intell they need to keep everybody safe on ground.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Thursday, August 9, 2007 - 12:02 am:

Thank you for all of your hard work & great pictures, Neil! You are doing yeoman's work, and we really appreciate everything that you are doing, both with fighting the fire and your wonderful pictures! :-)

By Marie McNamara (Wfoc) on Thursday, August 9, 2007 - 01:41 pm:

Awesome, your pictures are being seen around the world. My daughter is in Tunisia for the summer. It is hard to describe in email and over the phone the sights, sounds and smells of the fire. I live 2 blocks north of the 4-mile corner and have a camp on the Widgeon Road. Marie McNamara

By Roger Auble (Rogindaup) on Friday, August 10, 2007 - 07:12 am:

As a 15 year old YCC-er at Clear Lake near Shingleton in July 1976, when the Seney Refuge Fire started. YCC was a Summer Youth Employment program in the 1970s, equivilant to the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. Clear Lake Camp, built by the CCC in the early 30s, is approximately 17 miles from the Refuge. That first night everyone in camp awoke about 3:00 AM, because of the smoke. As I remember it, the smoke was so thick we could barely see our hands in front of our faces. No one knew what was going on, and everyone was terrified the camp was on fire. The scene was chaotic for quite a while, with adults & students alike all running around trying to find the cause. It was not until approx 8:00 AM the Camp Director got information that lightning had struck somewhere in the Seney Refuge, nearly 20 miles away. For the next several days we YCC-ers continued working in other areas of the Hiawatha National Forest, doing campground maintenence & forest regeneration projects; and every evening listened to news reports on the status of the great fire. After 3 weeks however, fire crews had contained enough of the fire -- but were so exhausted & under-manned -- the Forest Service decided to let some of our work crews participate in some clean-up/"mop-up" activities, behind the regular fire fighting crews. The fire was mostly out in these areas; but in spots smoldering stumps, glowing embers, & charred brush piles still posed a danger of reigniting fire below the surface in the peat. It was our job to go through & put out "smokers," using 5 gallon water cans outfitted with squirt pumps, carried on our backs. I well remember slogging through muddy bogs & cedar swamps with that 4o+ lbs water can strapped to my back, hour upon hours, for what seemed like days & days. It was physically exhausting work; yet thrilling to be involved in. It was nothing, however, compared to what the real fire crews had accomplished just days before.

Thirty-one years later, living as U.P. Transplants & former Trolls in McMillan, the Sleeper Lake Fire brings to mind these recollections; along with a deep respect and appreciation for what crews are battling and accomplishing a mere 6 or 7 miles north of our home. During the Summer of 1976, being on the edge of a great forest fire seemed a great adventure & exciting experience. This summer, as several of our friends & co-workers are misplaced or otherwise touched by the flames of a new fire sparked by lightning, we salute & say thanks to the dozens of fire fighters, volunteers, support personnel, and local businesses who are working to help bring the Sleeper Lake Fire under control.

Powered by:  
Join Today!
Each day the Pasty Cam has 2 areas to post messages: 
  • Cam Notes - comments related to today's picture and discussion
  • What'sUP - other topics, conversation and announcements
  • *** Please use the appropriate forum ***
    Here's a list of messages posted in the past 24 hours
    See our guest photo gallery for more great views from the U.P.

    Add a Message

    A user/password combination is now required to post messages to Cam Notes. Registration is free. Click here to register or maintain your I.D.

    Home | Pasty Cam | Contest | Order Now | Bridge Cam | Past-E-Mail | GP Hall of Fame | Making Pasties | Questions