REGIONAL - Multiple wildfires burned in the Superior National Forest and BWCAW on the Fourth of July.“Late in the day on July 4, four wildfires were reported on the west zone of the Superior …
REGIONAL - Multiple wildfires burned in the Superior National Forest and BWCAW on the Fourth of July.
“Late in the day on July 4, four wildfires were reported on the west zone of the Superior National Forest, three within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in St. Louis County and one outside of the BWCAW in Lake County,” said Tim Engrav, public information officer for the Superior National Forest.
USFS personnel reported that there were thunderstorms with lightning passing through the area. Moderate to severe drought conditions have been reported in northern Minnesota this summer.
The Sundial Fire was approximately eight acres in size and burned in a remote area of the BWCAW south of Iron Lake, Engrav said.
“The Sundial Fire was detected burning in jack pine regeneration and the old 1996 White Feather Fire area. Initial response included four aircraft that were used to drop water on the fire Saturday afternoon and evening,” he said.
On Sunday, a firefighting crew was inserted near the fire. “The crew initiated suppression action as safely allowable along the fire edge,” Engrav said. “Firefighter and public safety are the most important priorities in all wildfire response and due to the remote setting of this fire the suppression efforts were undertaken deliberately and with life safety in mind.”
The fire started away from any travel routes and was not accessible by lakes or rivers due to low water. It was located in a very remote area about 3.5 miles south of Iron and Crooked lakes and the Canadian border, he said.
Two other blazes, each about one-tenth of an acre in size, were located north/northeast of Trout Lake and north of Lake Vermilion in the La Croix Ranger District.
What Engrav referred to as the “213 Fire” was located north of Lake Vermilion and west of the Trout Lake Portage. It was accessible from Lake Vermilion and was one-tenth of an acre in size and a single tree lightning strike fire.
“A fire crew was on site taking suppression actions on Sunday,” he said.
Another small blaze, the “212 Fire” was located northwest of Trout Lake and also anticipated to be a single tree lightning strike that burned about one-tenth of an acre. A fire crew traveled by boat on Trout Lake to locate and suppress this fire on Sunday, according to Engrav.
The Independence Fire was one acre in size and located near Birch Lake south of Ely, according to Engrav.
The one-acre Independence Fire was reported Saturday near Birch Lake south of Ely in the Kawishiwi Ranger District. USFS crews and the Morse Township Fire Department responded.
“Crews remained on site and continued to work on the fire into the evening and early Sunday morning,” Engrav said.
Cedar Lake and No-See-Um Lake fires
On Sunday afternoon, a fire was reported off Cedar Lake, on Minnesota state land in St. Louis County, within the west zone of the Superior National Forest.
The Cedar Lake Fire was 1.5 acres in size and burned in mixed timber and slash. “The fire was determined to be ignited from lightning,” Engrav said.
Fire crews were on scene and suppressed the fire on Sunday afternoon and evening. Several cabins are located along the shoreline of the lake, south of fire.
Another fire off No-see-um Lake, found in the Tick PMA (primitive management area) of the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) was also detected. The fire was about one-tenth of an acre, burning in conifer and dead balsam in isolated flat, boggy terrain. Numerous lightning down strikes were spotted during a detection flight in the area, but no active flame was visible.
Due to impending thunderstorms late Sunday, Engrav said a crew was to be sent in Monday morning to suppress the fire.
“Northeastern Minnesota is in moderate drought conditions as we have not received significant moisture over the past several weeks. There are several soil and fuel conditions that are monitored to determine fire danger levels and several of those conditions are indicating a drying trend in the region,” Engrav said.
The Superior National Forest currently has campfire restrictions in place both inside and outside the BWCAW except in specific developed campgrounds.
“There are no fire-specific area forest closures, but visitors should continue to be aware of the dry conditions and expect to see aircraft being used for fire response and detection,” Engrav said.
For USFS fire information, call 218-248-2411.