At about mid-morning on Tuesday, November 30th, crews clearing a wide swath through the wooded area along the snowmobile trail between lake Eliza and the Eagle Harbor cutoff road, torched a giant thirty feet high pile of accumulated brush. Unbelievable, considering how dry it is this year and the lack of protective snow cover. Not surprisingly, the roaring fire was soon out of control and fanned by a gathering south wind threatened to ignite the very dry nearby forest. The fire would have then quickly spread north towards the now mostly empty cottages in town. Thanks to the effective mutual aid agreement between local volunteer fire departments, the quickly responding but overwhelmed Eagle Harbor firemen were soon assisted by men and equipment from Copper Harbor, Lac La Belle and the DNR. Thousands of gallons of water were pumped from the Harbor's water system into tanker trucks and hauled to the fire scene. With the threat of an expanding fire, Sheriff deputies began planning for the evacuation of the homes along Pine Street. That proved unneccessary as the fire crews got the blaze under control. Frank Carlton, Ann Johnson and Elaine Finke, hooked up their outdoor hoses ready to do battle if the fire approached their nearby homes. Rick Finke was at the pump house keeping all three pumps going at top capacity to supply the needed water. Smoke from the fire blanketed the Harbor. By evening, the fire had been extinguished. If not for the work and skill of the fire crews, this very dangerous fire could have easily burned its way all the way to the lake, consuming many Harbor cottages and camps in the process. A close brush with disaster. Once more our thanks are due to the volunteer fireman and the townships that support them.
The clearing is apparently related to Lake Superior Land Company's planned subdivision of the tracts lying just south of town and between Lake Eliza and the Harbor Cutoff Road. A wide swath for what appears to be a new road has been cut along what has been the snowmobile trail from the Cutoff Road to the shore of Lake Eliza. I assume at some point the trail will either be closed or relocated. Another swath is now being cut unto the area just up the hill from the first. Word is that the two will loop together back by the lake with as many as 100 lots to be platted alongside. I assume that the new roads when completed will be maintained by County taxpayers and the homes to be built on the lots serviced by County and Township governments (police, fire, utilities, etc.) but to the best of my knowledge, no land development plats have yet been filed for review and approval by either Township or County authorities. The Land Company has stated that it intends to develop the property for residential purposes.
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