5/23 Update: According to the US Forest Service, the Foss Lake fire has burned 1,008 acres, advancing about three miles from its initial ignition point.
According to an incident report issued Monday afternoon, the fire growth has been minimal since Friday, despite challenging weather conditions. The fire grew about 20 acres in size on Sunday.
There is no threat to the towns of Ely, Winton, Tower or Soudan, according to the Forest Service. No structures are threatened. Currently 80 personnel and eight aircraft are battling the blaze. A MNICS Type II Team is now overseeing the fire operations.
BURNTSIDE LAKE—A prescribed fire initiated by the U.S. Forest Service jumped containment lines on Thursday and is burning into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. That’s according to a press statement issued late Thursday by the Forest Service.
The prescribed burn has since been reclassified as a wildfire, according to the Forest Service and air tankers, helicopters, and additional ground crews are being deployed in an effort to halt the blaze. No structures appear to be in danger at this time.
Because the firefighters are still in initial attack, Forest Service spokesperson Becca Manlove said no size estimate for the fire was available as of late Thursday afternoon. “The fire is moving aggressively,” said Manlove. Wilderness lakes in or near the path of the fire include: Clark, Meat, Phantom, Boulder, Battle, Saga, and Crab. The Forest Service is undertaking aerial surveillance of the affected lakes in order to determine if any wilderness visitors may be at risk.
Forest Service crews lit the fire near tiny Foss Lake, just north of Burntside Lake, on Thursday, in hopes of reducing forest fuels and improving wildlife habitat in a 78-acre treatment zone. But dry air and gusty southeast winds fanned the fire, allowing it to break across the containment lines on the north and west edge of the zone.
As of Thursday afternoon, the fire has generated a large smoke plume, visible for more than ten miles. It is moving towards the Boundary Waters, located just north of the fire zone. The fire is located approximately ten miles west of Ely in Twp. 63N, Range 14W, Sec. 35. Watch for more updates here as they become available.