Lucky Boy fire burns 20 acres near Ely
A small fire near Lucky Boy ponds west of Ely took off into a clear cut and became a 20-acre forest fire Saturday afternoon.
Low humidity and gusty winds caused the Morse-Fall Lake Fire Department to have to pull back from battling the blaze and an air attack was launched.
By Saturday night the fire was 50 percent contained with a dozer line being cut around the fire.
"The fire started by the Lucky Boy ponds and burned to the northeast," said Morse-Fall Lake fire chief Ted Krueger. "It entered a clear cut and then into an area with a lot of dead balsam."
Following the initial attack by Morse-Fall Lake, a Chinook helicopter and four Fire Boss planes were diverted from another fire to drop water on the Ely fire.
"The Chinook was able to dump a lot of water on the fire and he had a quick turnaround time from Lucky Boy to the fire," said Krueger.
The Chinook CH-47 can drop 3,000 gallons of water at a time and reload in under two minutes.
The Fire Boss can carry 800 gallons of water and fly 170 miles per hour. They were picking up water on Shagawa Lake.
People gathered at vantage points to take photos of the fire and the air show that went with it, including along Hwy. 169 and at the Morse Town Hall.
Krueger said the plan is to get a dozer line around the entire fire and attack the spot fires that were popping up Saturday. A smaller helicopter will be on the scene in addition to ground crews from Morse-Fall Lake, the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota DNR.
The Taconite Trail will be closed until further notice between Ely and Raven Lane.