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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, August 4, 2021

West Zone Superior Fires Wildfire
News – 8/4/2021

CLOSURE UPDATE: Due to continued fire activity and no significant change in conditions, the current Closure Order will continue until at least August 13.  Permit holders have been notified.  The Forest Service understands how this impacts our visitors and businesses.  We will be evaluating the closure areas daily to determine next steps based on weather conditions and fire activity.

East Zone Fire Information: 218-386-2750 or the Superior National Forest website:  www.fs.usda.gov/superior

West Zone Fire Information: 218-214-7844 or 2021.westzone@firenet.gov  or online at InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ or the Superior National Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior                                          

Description:, Minnesota’s forests and grasslands continue to experience drought conditions. With no major precipitation received over the last few days and increased winds in the forecast; fire behavior is predicted to increase. Concerns remain for a continued problematic fire season.  Prioritization of personnel and resources is being done based on firefighter and public safety, in addition to resources at risk.

Bunggee Fire:  This fire, detected July 30 and located south of Crooked Lake, is approximately three acres in size.  Access is difficult and all resources need to be helicoptered in.  An eleven person crew is now on the ground and is making great progress in containing this fire.

Fourtown Lake Fire: This fire, first detected on July 25th, is in the current closure area within the BWCAW approximately 12 miles north of Ely.  Current size is 265 acres.  Crews on the ground focused on mop-up and strengthening the north and west holding lines in anticipation of southerly winds today. Monitoring by air will also continue.

Sundial South:  Sundial South Fire, detected on July 21, maintains some smoke and is currently being monitored, though not staffed. This fire is within the existing closure area and is particularly inaccessible to fire crews due to the remote location and hazardous fuels.

Slowfoot Fires: Slowfoot is approximately one mile southeast of the Delta Fire.  Aircraft have put water on this fire since it was discovered but it continues to burn slowly. There is now a crew on the ground building containment line and running hose lays. 

Other West Zone Fires: Three other fires in the Wilderness are now 100% contained: Vivid, Bear Creek, and Phantom Creek Fires.  The Delta Lake Fire, outside of the Wilderness and near Snowbank Lake, is now 100% contained.  Fire personnel have moved to other priority fires.  This will be the last report on these fires.

East Zone Fires: There are currently no active fires on the East Zone of the Superior National Forest. The Agamok and Beth Fires are contained and controlled as of July 30.  Aircraft will continue to monitor these fires and look for any new starts.


Canada Fires:The Quetico Provincial Park continues to manage several fires burning north of the international border from the BWCAW.  Three of these fires have potential to spread across the border into areas near Crooked and Iron Lakes.  Resources in Canada are stretched thin due to large fires threatening homes and communities leading to evacuations. As a result, there are limited suppression efforts for some of the fires in the park.

Forest Service and Canadian personnel are monitoring the fires near the border by air and report seeing some growth to the south.  These crews also discovered two new fires north of Crooked Lake and Lac La Croix.  Canadian crews are on the ground engaged in initial attack with these new fires.

The Superior National Forest continues to monitor and assess these fires daily.  For more information on the fires in Ontario and for an interactive fire map visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires

Air Operations: Two helicopters are committed to the Forest to perform water drops as needed.  Two fire bosses are available to help if needed.  We request the public not fly drones over the fire area as it is a safety hazard to aircraft and is prohibited. Air operations will stop if drones are detected in the area.

Air Quality:  The air quality alert issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has extended the current air quality alert until Wednesday, August 4, at 9 p.m. for the northern half of Minnesota. The air quality alert for the rest of Minnesota expired as scheduled, Tuesday at 3 p.m.

A significant and long duration air quality event has been occurring across Minnesota over the past several days. Smoke from Canadian wildfires has remained over most of Minnesota since Thursday. An area of high pressure has allowed for smoke across the southern half of Minnesota to clear, but smoke will continue to linger through Wednesday evening across northern Minnesota.

Fine particle levels are expected to reach the Red AQI category, a level considered unhealthy for everyone, across far northern Minnesota today. This area includes International Falls, Grand Portage, Grand Marais, Baudette, and the tribal nations of Grand Portage.

Fine particle levels are expected to reach the Orange AQI category, a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, for north central, northeast, and northwest Minnesota today. This area includes Duluth, Ely, Two Harbors, Brainerd, East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Hinckley, Roseau, and the tribal nations of Leech Lake, Fond du Lac, Upper Sioux, and Red Lake. Fine particle levels are not expected to be above alert levels across southern Minnesota.

For information on current air quality conditions in your area and to sign up for daily air quality forecasts and alert notifications by email, text message, phone, or the Minnesota Air mobile app, visit MPCA’s Air Quality Index webpage. You can find additional information about health and indoor and outdoor air quality at the agency's Air Quality and Health webpage.

Closures: Closures remain in place on the Kawishiwi and LaCroix Ranger Districts 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.  With continued fires, the closure allows firefighters to take immediate action on existing fires or any new starts.

Due to continued long-term drought conditions and limited fire-fighting resources, the Superior National Forest is not allowing campfires within the Forest boundary, including the BWCAW. Propane devices with an on/off switch are permitted, including lanterns, stoves, and firepits.  Campfires are NOT allowed at any BWCAW campsites, backcountry campsites, or rustic campgrounds, even in designated fire rings or grates.  Please see Fire Restrictions Order  and our Campfire Restrictions FAQ for more information.