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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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Superior Fires Update for 8/16/2021

West Zone Superior Fires Wildfire
News – 8/16/2021

Superior National Forest Fire Information: Please call the fire information number at 218-214-7844  the local Ranger District office or online at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ or the Superior NF website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior  For Greenwood Fire Information, please call 218-499-9441.

West Zone Fires:

Bunggee, Fourtown Lake, and Sundial South Fires: All three fires are located within the closure area of the BWCAW.  The Bungee Fire was first detected on July 30th. The 3.5-acre fire has control line around it and very minimal fire activity has been observed in the last week.  The Fourtown Lake Fire was first detected on July 25th and is located within approximately 12 miles north of Ely. The current size is 265 acres and continues to stay within containment lines. Six firefighters are staffing the fire and continue to mop up and further secure lines.  The Sundial South was detected on July 21st, this fire is a quarter-acre in size. It is particularly inaccessible to fire crews due to the remote location and hazardous fuels. Fire activity remains minimal and will continue to be monitored by air.

Ole Fire: This fire was detected late in the day on August 10th and is located west of the north arm of Burntside Lake. The fire is .2 acres and has been contained and controlled.  Firefighters will continue to patrol and monitor.  This will be the last report on the Ole Fire. 

East Zone Fires

John Elk Fire started with a lightning strike and is in a remote area 2.5 miles south of Little Saganaga Lake in the Wilderness.  No fire-fighting crews have been sent in due to difficult access, limited helicopter resources and safety concerns. A helicopter with water drops is being used to knock down flames and limit the spread.  It is currently at 10 acres and is observed to be smoldering and creeping with some single tree torching.  On August 15th, a 2 person wilderness ranger crew paddled in from Little Sag to make contact with BWCAW permittees to inform them on the John Elk Fire, and update them on fire conditions. 

The Whelp Fire,another lightning-caused fire, is 4 miles west/northwest of Sawbill Lake.  Similar to the John Elk Fire, this fire is in a remote area of the Wilderness. No fire-fighting crews have been sent in due to difficult access, limited helicopter resources and safety concerns. Aircraft will perform water drops to suppress this fire as we continue to gather information.  On August 16th, a 2-person wilderness ranger crew will paddle the Louse River to contact permittees near the Whelp Fire. It is currently at 5 acres. 

Pelt Lake Fire: This fire was detected on the afternoon of August 10th and is located approximately 2 miles NW of Isabella Lake.  It is estimated to be one acre in size. The fire is now contained and in monitor status. 

The Clara Island Fire is located 10 miles NNW of Lutsen and outside of the Wilderness.  This fire was discovered on an island on August 12th  and is the result of an illegal campfire.  It is still contained to the island but continues to put up smoke.  Aircraft dropped water on this fire on Sunday and but will continue to patrol and monitor.

The Tomlinson Fire was discovered on August 12th, this fire is .75 acres and the result of a lightning strike. This fire is outside of the Wilderness, sixteen miles north of Finland and northwest of Dumbbell Lake. This fire is now contained and controlled and will continue to be monitored daily.

The Homestead Fire is the result of an illegal campfire located approximately ¼ mile SE of Homestead Lake, south of the Wanless Road and outside of the Wilderness.  It was contained and controlled as of August 13th but will continue to be patrolled and monitored.

Canada Fires: 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. Due to the last few days of drying, fire activity has been observed to be active. Active fire behavior is predicted throughout this week. The Forest continues to conduct daily monitoring flights over the fires and coordinate with counterparts in Ontario. For more information on the fires in Ontario and for an interactive fire map visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires.

Air Quality: Air quality is expected to to be good across the state today.  For more 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.

Closures: Closures remain in place on the Kawishiwi and LaCroix Ranger Districts until August 20 and will continue to be evaluated. For details, visit the Superior National Forest webpage at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/superior/alerts-notices. With continued fires and a shortage of firefighting resources, the closure allows firefighters to take immediate action on existing fires or new starts without having to evacuate wilderness campers.

An Emergency Closure Order is in place for the McDougal Lake Campground, the McDougal Lake Boat Ramp, the McDougal Lake Picnic Area and the McDougal Lake Trailhead and Trail (trail 71078).  An Emergency Closure Order will be posted today for the Little Isabella Campground and….For updated information, visit the Superior National Forest webpage at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/superior/alerts-notices.

Fire Restrictions: Due to continued long-term drought conditions and limited fire-fighting resources, the Superior National Forest is not allowing campfires within the Forest boundary on National Forest lands, 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.

The MN DNR activated additional burning restrictions for areas within state jurisdiction in Cook and Lake counties, Tuesday, August 10. Under the additional restrictions, all campfires and recreational fires are banned, and the use of welding devices and other torches is prohibited when in proximity to combustible vegetation (unless special permission is granted). The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has also restricted burning on its lands. 

Under these additional restrictions, the campfire and recreational fire ban in Cook and Lake counties now includes all public and private land. In the backcountry, and at campsites, only gas or propane camp stoves are allowed. Gas and charcoal grills are allowed at occupied homes, cabins, and resorts. Charcoal and gas fires must be in devices designed for grilling.  Please see MN DNR Wildland Fire Information for details. 

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