Fire Restrictions Imposed in the BWCA and Rain Falls

     It seems like any time the USFS imposes a fire restriction then we get rain. This time around is no exception on the Gunflint Trail. I’m not sure what the rest of the forest is receiving for rain but we’re getting it on the Trail.  The past couple of days we’ve had rain off and on throughout the day and much cooler temperatures. I guess the Forest Supervisors are playing it safe this year with thoughts of last year’s Pagami fresh in their minds.

     The USFS originally supressed wildfires, then adopted a "Let it Burn" policy and has recently revisited the policy due to high costs of fighting large forest fires including last year’s Pagami. The decision to Let it Burn will now need the support of regional forest managers who may have a better idea of what resources are available to fight a fire if it is allowed to grow.

From the web… For years, the policy has been that supervisors on Forest Service land can opt to let fires burn if they start naturally, usually by lightning strikes, and are not a threat to nearby homes or other assets. Scientists view fires as a natural part of forest regeneration, making room for new growth and also diminishing future threat of larger fires by clearing areas of fuel sources.

But that decision can go wrong. Last August, in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a fire that burned slowly at first under the supervision of Superior National Forest managers gained unexpected strength thanks to a blast of hot, windy weather in early September.

The Pagami Creek fire quickly grew out of control, burning about 145 square miles and costing $23 million to fight. It took another month to extinguish, with help from nearly 1,000 firefighters.

Last year, the Forest Service spent a record $48 million for recovery work alone on burned areas. By the end of July, the agency had already spent $28 million on recovery and is on track for another possible record.

    This past week near Ely, Minnesota there were a number of small fires but all are under control, contained or out at this time.  Lightning strikes started some and the cause of othere are unknown. 

  • Cummings Lake Fire: T64 R14 Section 28 on a peninsula separating the west end of Cummings Lake from the northeast side of Otter Lake. .
  • · Saturday Bay Fire, Crooked Lake: T6 R12 Section 14 on the Kawishiwi District of the BWCAW 
  • · Thunder Fire: T66 R 12 Section 34: -91 50.62, 48 9.51, BWCAW
  • · Spring Creek Fire: T65 R12 Section 7 BWCAW
  • · Beartrap Fire: T65 R12 Section 4: -91 51.78, 48 8.99, BWCAW,
  • · Hawk’s Nest Fire: T64 R11 Section 30: -91 46.95, 47 59.93, Superior National Forest
  • Wooden Leg Fire: T64 R9 Section 13: -91 25.43, 48 01.42, BWCAW
  • Fort Frances #53, the Canadian Fire on Norway Point of Basswood Lake, was approximately 40 acres.

     There were no fires on the Gunflint Trail side of the BWCA and there were no closures either.  Rain and cooler temperatures should help prevent future fires and as the days get shorter the risk of wildfire is less and less. Before long snow will blanket the BWCA but until then please use caution with fires.