What began as the John Elk Wildfire has now been renamed the John Ek Wildfire. Yesterday was a bad day for John and a good day for the Boundary Waters as temperatures and wind were moderate and didn’t allow for the fire to spread. In addition to that the boundary of the fire was better defined and found to be less than 1000 acres. Details of John Ek and the Whelp Fire from MN Incident Command can be found below.
We’re open for business at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in spite of the Boundary Waters closure. There are plenty of fun ways to recreate on the Gunflint Trail without entering the BWCAW. There are still lakes to paddle, trails to hike, museums to visit and solitude to be found at the end of the Gunflint Trail. We can also help you find an alternate opportunity for your Boundary Waters Canoe camping trip as well. There are paddle to campsites on lakes and small campgrounds throughout the Superior National Forest that are sometimes even more secluded than the BWCA.
John Ek Fire: The John Ek Fire was successfully kept in its current footprint yesterday with cooler temperatures and suppression activities by aircraft. The fire is estimated at 727 acres due to more accurate mapping from aerial flights. The fire is located 2.5 miles south of Little Saganaga Lake and extends from John Ek Lake to the SE corner of Elton Lake. Beaver float planes flew the Wilderness to identify campers and notify them of the current closure. Today crews and float planes will be used to sweep the area of visitors. Ground suppression activities are still not possible due to difficult access and firefighter safety concerns. Fire-suppressing aircraft continue to drop water on the fire to try to limit its spread. A MNICS Type 3 team will assume command of the fires beginning on Monday, August 23.
Whelp Fire: This fire continues to creep and smolder in the duff without moving outside of its current footprint of 50 acres. The Whelp Fire is a lightning-caused fire located five miles west of Sawbill Lake.
A helitack crew will begin improving a nearby helispot today to improve access. No firefighting crews have been sent in due to difficult access, limited aircraft resources, and safety concerns. Fire-suppressing aircraft continue to drop water on this fire to try and limit its spread.