Ely mayor declares local emergency due to nearby wildfire - New York News

Ely mayor declares local emergency due to nearby wildfire

Posted: Updated:
Photo courtesy of KQDS FOX 12 Photo courtesy of KQDS FOX 12
ELY, Minn. (KMSP) -

On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Roger Skraba declared a local emergency for the City of Ely after a wildfire near Highway 1 began approaching the city limits, posing a threat to health and safety in the area and prompting evacuation orders.

By 5:30 p.m., officials in the area said they were confident they had the upper hand on the fire, and were no longer asking residents to evacuate their homes.

The evacuation order affected a few blocks on the south side of White Street to 5th Avenue and on to Highway 1. It was lifted by Thursday night.

The wildfire near the softball fields was sparked by a downed power line, and it rapidly approached the city. There is less than a mile of distance between the fire's edge and the city's borders.

Ely City Clerk Terry Lowell said the fire came as close as a few hundred yards from city limits and was close to Ely's electrical substation. Power outages were reported in parts of town, including at the local radio station, WELY. A Verizon cell tower was also taken offline by an outage.

Skraba declared the local emergency effective at 3:15 p.m. based on the following findings:

  • The situation is sudden, unforeseen and could not have been anticipated
  • The conditions in the city have worsened considerably as a result of the fire
  • The fire threatens the health, safety and welfare of the citizens in the community
  • The fire has resulted in "catastrophic loss to property and the safety of citizens" or will cause a loss if not immediately addressed
  • Traditional sources of relief are not adequate to prevent or repair the losses.

The city's disaster plan has since been evoked.

Jean Goad, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, said the fire started at about 1:45 p.m. about a mile south of Ely on U.S. Forest Service land.

Fire-engine crews, helicopters and two water-bombing airplanes were trying to douse the flames, which has expanded to an estimated 100 acres.

"They're hitting as hard as they can. There are some evacuations south of town. They are calling in 'dozers and more engines," Goad said. "It's very windy out there."

Residents watched as the water-scooping planes attacked the blaze from the air, flying right over downtown on their routes.

Conditions in the area have been dry, and winds were recorded at gusts of up to 35 miles per hour on Thursday.

St. Louis County Commissioner Mike Forsman, of Ely said the winds had blown the fire to within a quarter mile of the town by mid-afternoon. Many fire engine crews -- including those from Ely, Babbitt, the U.S. Forest Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and numerous township volunteer fire departments -- constructed a fire line on the city's southeast side.

If you have an image of the fire you would like to send in, you can either upload it here or send it in an e-mail to photos@foxtv.com.

Join our Facebook family

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 8 confirmed mumps cases at Stevens Institute of Technology

    8 confirmed mumps cases at Stevens Institute of Technology

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:26 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:26:31 GMT
    Officials are investigating eight confirmed cases of mumps found in students at New Jersey's Stevens Institute of Technology.The college in Hoboken says the students range in age from 18 to 21. All were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of mumps-containing vaccine.
    The New Jersey Department of Health is investigating eight confirmed cases of mumps found in students at Stevens Institute of Technology.  The college in Hoboken says the students range in age from 18 to 21. All were fully vaccinated with two documented doses of mumps-containing vaccine. Symptoms include swollen salivary glands, fever, headache, tiredness and loss of appetite.



  • Search for woman who tried to snatch baby in stroller

    NYPD: Woman tried to snatch baby in stroller

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:37:43 GMT
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
    Police want to question a woman who tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. The incident occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. The 8-month-old baby was not harmed. People who were in the area jumped in to stop the woman before she took off southbound on 8th Ave., according to police. A sketch was released on Friday of the suspect.
  • Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:48:47 GMT
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices