Becca Manlove, Superior National Forest Information Officer from Ely, sent us this update on the LaCroix Blowdown. We are grateful to all of the folks who helped those injured in the storm. It was an amazing team of people. Heck, even the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources got involved! Thank you to everyone who helps our visitors to the BWCAW!
Fact Sheet July 22, 2014
Introduction: Winds from a thunderstormat 2 a.m.on July 22, 2014 caused blowdown in pockets of the Superior National Forest. Injuries were reported from falling trees for two groups camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).
Injuries: Seven injuries were reported. One group used a satellite phone to call in an emergency to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office at three a.m. from Lady Boot Bay of Lac LaCroix. Mark Zupancich of Zup’s Resort, Anderson’s Resort, St. Louis County Search and Rescue (SLCSR), and Crane Lake First Responders removed the two injured people by boat to an ambulance. At approximately noon, a report of five more BWCAW visitors trapped in their tents from fallen trees was received by SLCSR. Two people were flown out by a Forest Service floatplane to Ely where a life flight was called. Three more people with less serious injuries were brought out by boat to Crane Lake by Morse Fall Lake First Responders, Zup’s Resort, and SLCSR. A Forest Service floatplane was also used in a medical evacuation that was not storm related assisted by Morse/Fall Lake First Responders and the Lake County Sheriff.
Personnel: An Interagency Incident Management Team was formed. Two Forest Service wilderness crews were already in the area. Two more were flown in. A Forest Service float plane flew an assessment looking for any other injured parties and to assess the damage. A MN State Helicopter was on standby for closer assessments. The Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources also sent aircraft in to help with public safety and storm damage assessments on the Canadian side of the border. SLCSR, Morse/Fall Lake FD and Responders, Crane Lake FD, hospitals in Ely, Cook, and Virginia, area ambulances, resort owners, St. Louis and Lake County Sheriffs, and other EMS teams were on alert in case more injuries were reported.
Visitor Impacts: Assessments are still coming in. Some portages may have a number of trees down, but no portages have been reported as impassable. No other injuries have been reported.
Size: The exact extent of the blowdown is being assessed at this time. Current assessments are showing less damage than initially thought. Tree damage is patchy and in concentrated areas of five acre microbursts.******* Becca Brin Manlove 218-365-7569 Information Officer West Zone Superior National Forest Ely, MN 55731