Superior National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Duluth, MN 55808
Foss Lake Fire Update
Thursday, May 26, 2016, 10:00 a.m.
MNICS Team C, Brian Pisarek, Incident Commander
Location: US Forest Service, 1393 Hwy 169, Ely, Open 8 am–6 pm
Size: 936 acres
Containment: 95 percent
Resources: 6 crews, 2 CCMI camp crews, 1 light helicopter, 1 engine, 1 water tender, 212 total personnel
Fire Start Date: May 19, 2016
Current Situation: Firefighters removed ten miles of hose off the fireline. Conservation Corps Minnesota Iowa (CCMI) crew members rolled and prepared it for transport to the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center fire cache in Grand Rapids where it will be washed, dried, and stored for the next time it’s needed. CCMI crew members also hauled 20 aluminum canoes across the over-mile-long portage from Crab to Burntside.
The light helicopter assisted crews by transporting cargo such as pumps, hose, trash, gas cans off the fireline. As of Wednesday morning, the helicopters had transported nearly 20,000 pounds of cargo, dropped over 815,000 gallons of water and 62,500 gallons of retardant, and clocked 130 hours of flight time.
Today firefighters will continue to extinguish isolated smoldering stumps and duff (referred to as mopping up) as they patrol the fire perimeter. They will use chainsaws to cut the occasional snag—a standing, damaged tree that is likely to fall along the fireline or portage, posing a safety hazard to firefighters and the public. More gear, equipment, and trash will be backhauled.
Campsites and areas affected by fire-suppression activity will be rehabilitated (for example, repairing areas along a portage eroded from water drops or digging a new latrine, if needed, at campsites used by crews). Two crews (about 40 people) and many personnel are demobilizing today as the Type 2 MNICS Team C prepares to transfer command of the fire back to a local Type 3 organization on Friday afternoon.
Weather: Temperatures will be in the mid-70s and clouds will keep the relative humidity above 40 percent. Southeast winds will be variable (5–8 mph), possibly switching to the west and gusting to 12 mph in the afternoon. The chance of receiving a wetting rain is low: 20 percent before noon.
Future Fire Behavior: Current weather conditions are favorable to minimal fire behavior. The fire is secure due to the 100-foot mopped-up buffer between the fire’s perimeter and interior. During a flight on Tuesday, an infrared thermal imager detected three areas of heat in the fire’s interior. Another flight scheduled for this morning will reveal what heat remains within the perimeter. Depending on future weather, any small pocket of existing heat could create small amounts of smoke that would be visible to people near the fire. The presence of smoke does not mean that the fire has escaped the containment line or that the fire is actively burning. The continued presence of firefighters does not indicate active fire behavior. They remain in the fire area for patrols, fire-line rehabilitation, and initial-attack response to new fire starts.
Closures: BWCAW entry point #4 (Crab Lake entry point) will reopen on Friday morning. The current closure order remains in effect until then.