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West Zone Superior Fires

Unit Information

Superior National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
8901 Grand Ave Place
Duluth, MN 55808

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West Zone Complex Fires, July 26,2021

West Zone Superior Fires Wildfire
News – 7/26/2021

West Zone Complex Fire Update

Monday, July 26, 2021

MNICS Team B, Incident Commander Tom Roach

Fire Information: 218-214-7844, 8 am – 7 pm

Email: 2021.westzone@firenet.gov

SUMMARY:  The West Zone of the Superior National Forest, consisting of the Laurentian, Kawishiwi and LaCroix Districts, continues to host steady fire activity under the current moderate-to-severe- drought conditions.  Despite the recent rain, precipitation amounts were not enough to significantly reduce the season-long moisture deficit.  The Eastern Area Type 2 Silver Team is in the process of demobilizing, and MNICS Type 3 Team Bravo assumed command of the West Zone Complex at 8:00pm Sunday, July 25.  Local Forest fire resources continue to respond to and suppress any new fire starts.

DELTA LAKE FIRE: The 62-acre Delta Lake fire is 92 percent contained.  Crews mopped up hot spots in the interior identified by aircraft. Gusty winds remain a concern, especially around snags, standing dead trees, which pose safety risks to firefighters.  Firefighters will continue to patrol and cool hot spots as they begin fire suppression repair, which involves removing fire equipment and maintenance to return sensitive areas to their pre-fire natural condition.

SUPERIOR WEST ZONE FIRES: Yesterday’s conditions led to increased activity on the Phantom Creek Fire (detected July 24) and Bear Creek Fire (detected July 22).  Bear Creek Fire is located north of Mud Creek Road and Phantom Creek is north of Wolf Lake Road on the east side of Lake Vermilion. Both fires are within the BWCA Wilderness.  The current size estimates of the Phantom Creek is 3.5 acres, with Bear Creek at 10 acres.  Three Fire Bosses and three helicopters performed water drops on the fires to reduce the rate of spread and minimize fire activity.  Yesterday, a new start occurred near Fourtown Lake within the BWCAW.  The fire was estimated to be 15 to 20 acres and will be continually patrolled and monitored.  The Sundial Fire is still showing smoke but does not appear to have grown. All current fires and any new starts today will be fully suppressed by available initial attack resources from the team and local area. 

CANADA FIRES:  The Quetico Provincial Park has several fires burning across the international border from the BWCAW.  Three of the fires have the potential to spread across the border into areas near Crooked and Iron Lakes.  Recent rain has kept any fire spread to a slow creep, but more growth is expected in the days ahead. Yesterday, fires across the region experienced increase fire activity due to gusty winds and dry weather. Crews continue work near Curtain Falls to develop contingency lines and identify critical resource needs.  Structure protection planning and mitigation efforts are nearing conclusion.  The Public Safety Division will continue sweeps within the closure area.

WEATHER:  Today’s humidity values will increase, as will a chance for severe weather, mainly in the afternoon and evening. East winds between 2-6 mph in the morning will shift to northeast by evening. Showers and storms later in the day may bring gusty and erratic winds with gusts up to 15 mph.  Isolated lightning is a possibility in the event of late-night thundershowers.  Relative humidity will range from 30 – 40%, with predicted high temperature of 84 degrees.

AIR OPERATIONS: Flying drones over the fire is prohibited. Air operations will stop if drones are detected in the area.

Closures: There is one area closure in place adjacent to the Canadian border in BWCAW. For details, visit the Superior National Forest webpage at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/superior/alerts-notices.  The closure will be in place until fires in the region are controlled and pose no imminent threat to visitors.

Cooperating Agencies: Minnesota DNR, USFS, Tower Ambulance, Embarrass Volunteer Fire Department

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