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Introduction and History
|When I had arrived in Goose Bay to start my trip, I had
been told that there were forest fires in the region. I had checked
in with both the RCMP detachment and the forestry department. I had
given my proposed route to the forestry people and they had concluded that
there were no forest fires in the immediate area where I would be travelling.
They promised to keep an eye open and they knew I had a satellite phone.
I in fact had seen the same helicopter fly over me on my first day of lining
up the Red Wine River.
Finally Doug asked me if I would be interested in them flying me back to my canoe on the Red Wine River. He said that there was a danger of the fire moving in my direction and added that there would be no charge.
I had wanted to spend a few days exploring further to the west, but it seemed like a very good idea to get out of the path of the fire. Avoiding five days of very strenuous hiking, back over country that I had already covered, was attractive as well.
Lorne gave me a quick talk on safety in a helicopter, showed me how to use the ear phones and strap in, and then we all got on board and flew the short hop back to my tent.
They managed to land on a large rock out in the river, and while I quickly packed up my tent, Doug went for my food bag hanging in a tree a 100 metres or so away. We then took off again and made the 20-minute flight back to my canoe on the Red Wine River.
This was the Friday and I subsequently learned when I got back to North
West River and saw Doug once again, that the fire reached the area of the
monument on the Monday. It burned a further 3 kilometres to the east.
I still do not know the extent of the damage and if the four of us were
the last people to see the area of the monument as it was a hundred years
ago. Doug Blake sent me a sketch of the burn area done by the forestry
people, which I have transposed onto the map below (shaded area).