Patch Editor Shares First-Hand Account of Boundary Waters Fire
Camping trip to northern Minnesota turned surreal for Twin Cities local editor when forest fire grew. The smoke from the forest fire is now in Waukesha and southeastern Wisconsin.
Jeff Roberts, a local editor for the Twin Cities region of Patch.com hyper-local news websites, said it was “surreal” when the smoke mixed with thick fog during a canoeing and camping trip in the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota last week.
When his group had to portage canoes, there were firefighters everywhere. The same smoke that has infiltrated Waukesha and southeastern Wisconsin this week was also evident as they spent their days out in nature.
“As we were up there, we saw the smoke every day,” Roberts said. “It just kept getting stronger and stronger and thicker and thicker.”
At one point, they saw the flames in the trees.
“They have evacuated a lot of the townspeople now,” Roberts said. “If we went up this week instead of last week, we wouldn’t be able to get there.”
The news junky that is in every Patch editor had Roberts talking to the firefighters who voluntarily came to assist in putting out the forest fire. In his conversations with the firefighters — some from as far away as Louisiana — he learned the fire started from a lightning strike and moved under ground.
“I didn’t even know a fire could do that, but it does,” Roberts said.
The first two weeks firefighters were trying to contain the fire by sprinkling the ground in northern Minnesota. Weeks later, the fire’s smoke has reached Wisconsin and Michigan because of the cold fronts moving into the area. Roberts said it was freezing temperatures during the night when he was camping in northern Minnesota, and with the cooler air comes the smoke.
“Obviously with all the dry weather up there, it just got worse,” he said about the fire.