Webmaster note: Becca Manlove has sent us an update on the LaCroix Blowdown. Please see this post for the most up-to-date information: LaCroix Blowdown Udate. And if you want to know more about the emergency response, see this post: Emergency Response to BWCAW Windstorm.
You may have heard about the blowdown that happened early Tuesday morning in the BWCAW near Ely. Becca Manlove, Superior National Forest Information Officer from Ely, just sent us this information about it. We are grateful to all of the folks from Superior National Forest, local Search and Rescue personnel, First Responders and Volunteers who helped with this incident and who continue to aid visitors to the BWCAW.
Fact Sheet July 22, 2014
Introduction: Winds from a thunderstorm at 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: Two people 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, and Crane Lake First Responders removed the injured by boat to an ambulance. At approximately noon, a report of five more BWCAW visitors trapped in their tent from fallen trees was received by St. Louis County Search and Rescue. 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. A Forest Service floatplane was also used in a medical evacuation that was not storm related.
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.
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 DeHaviland Beaver 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.
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.
*******Becca Brin Manlove Information Officer West Zone Superior National Forest Ely, MN 55731