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Ike’s Cabin survives fire at Enders Lake PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Friday, 07 September 2012 17:14

By Russ Pankonin

The Imperial Republican


The Izaak Walton League cabin at Enders Lake, known by most as “Ike’s Cabin,” escaped a wildfire that roared around the building Monday afternoon.

Imperial Fire Chief Nick Schultz said the cabin stood in the path of a fast-moving grass fire that started just north of the Dan Marshall home along the cabin road highway.

Schultz said he didn’t know whether they were going to be able to save Ike’s Cabin when he saw the fire racing north through canyons towards the structure.

He dispatched some trucks to the building to begin foaming it. Crews also foamed the surrounding trees and grass.

As the fire approached, he pulled the crews back. They applied foam to the grass alongside the road as they drove to safety.

Schultz said flames and thick black smoke crept high up into the sky as the fire appeared to engulf the cabin.

“Well, we tried,” Schultz said to his crew as the cabin disappeared in the flames and smoke.

“When the smoke cleared, it was still there,” Schultz said Tuesday morning. An inspection of the building showed no apparent damage from the fire.

Schultz moved crews back up to Ike’s to extinguish any smoldering trees and embers. The fire continued to burn in the trees east of the cabin towards the lake but the terrain was too rough to bring in trucks.

Wauneta’s fire department brought in a truck beside the cabin and used its deck gun to shoot water towards the fire.

After controlling the fire around the cabin, Schultz said they used a large front-end loader to knock down trees. This opened the way for graders to cut a path down to the lake northeast of the cabin.

Even with the path, Schultz said their mobility was limited. As a result, they moved a quick-attack unit into position and connected 400 feet of hand lines off of it to continue fighting the fire. The department’s new 6x6 tanker pulled in behind to supply water to the hand lines.

Other tankers came in from behind to keep Imperial’s tanker full.

Schultz called for aerial spray plane assistance which came from Broken Bow as night neared.

He said they were able to get two loads of water dumped on the active fire before it became too dark to fly safely.

That did make a difference, he said, as the tops of the trees did not burn out in the areas of the drops.


Cabin area escapes

Looking back Tuesday morning, Schultz said the fire, which burned about 145 acres, could have been much worse.

If the fire had crossed the trail road leading to Ike’s Cabin, or jumped the highway that leads to the cabin area, Schultz said there would have been cabins lost to fire.

Schultz said they considered lighting a controlled back fire west of Ike’s to protect the cabins if they couldn’t contain the fire.

However, Schultz said it was starting to get dark and it would mean even more hours at the scene, because of all the trees.

As it was, Imperial’s crew did not leave the scene until about 12:30 Tuesday morning.

Schultz said they began sending mutual aid departments back home as the evening progressed.

Departments aiding in the fire included Wauneta, Lamar, Benkelman and Grant.

Schultz said they couldn’t have done it without the help of those departments, Frenchman Valley Coop and other volunteers who delivered water for the fire-fighting efforts.

The Imperial department was called back to the scene Tuesday to control some flare-ups.