Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Forest Service halts wildfire near Blizzard Lake

Keith Vandervort
Posted 8/2/18

ELY – U.S. Forest Service firefighters from the Kawishiwi Ranger District were called into action late last week to suppress a fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

The fire was …

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Forest Service halts wildfire near Blizzard Lake

Posted

ELY – U.S. Forest Service firefighters from the Kawishiwi Ranger District were called into action late last week to suppress a fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

The fire was located near Blizzard Lake in the BWCAW in St. Louis County. The blaze was just one or two acres in size and burning under mature red pines and white pines, according to Tim Engrav, USFS public information officer. Blizzard Lake is located west of Slim Lake and north of Coxey Pond northwest of the North Arm of Burntside Lake

The attached map shows the location of the fire as well as several fuel treatment units on the North Arm of Burntside Lake that have been implemented in recent years as well as several additional treatment units identified for the future. “These treatment units are important components, providing protection for private property adjacent to the BWCAW to prepare and defend against potential wildfires,” Engrav said.

Last Wednesday evening, the fire was burning ground litter and dead and down fuels. On Thursday, the fire was smoldering with no visible flames. “Overcast skies, light rain, and higher humidity levels kept the fire fairly quiet on Friday,” he said.

“Firefighters made good progress on suppressing the Blizzard Lake Fire. The moderate weather on Thursday allowed the crew to start working directly on the fire.”

There are no travel routes through Blizzard Lake and the lake is too small for float plane landings so firefighter access to this fire was challenging, he said. “A firefighting crew was inserted by helicopter near the fire. They improved a helicopter landing area and began suppression actions. 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 will be undertaken deliberately and with life safety in mind.”

By Saturday, fire activity was minimal with some smoldering and a few smokes on the interior. Crew continued to put water on hot spots and secured the fire line. The fire size remained at one to two acres with a crew of six firefighters assigned.

“Northeastern Minnesota continues to move toward a drying trend and Forest Service fire staffing levels have been increased and additional firefighters have been ordered to help in case fires occur,” Engrav said.

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