We’re happy to report our immediate area of the Gunflint Trail received over a half of an inch of rain last night. We’ve been in drought conditions much of the summer and wildfire danger has been ever present. While we have been able to operate business as usual, areas near Ely have had to deal with multiple closures. All of our entry points on the Gunflint Trail have remained open all summer. We’ve been knocking on wood as we say this.
Last night’s rain came with lightning and there are sure to be small fires popping up when the humidity drops and the wind picks up. The John Elk Fire is the one in closest proximity to our entry points and the USFS is keeping their eye on that situation.
Rumors are floating around about the entire BWCA being closed and no overnight permits being issued? I’ll keep you updated.
Superior National Forest Fire Information: Please call the fire information number at 218-214-7844 or
visit online at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/, the Superior NF website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior or the
forest’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SuperiorNF/. For Greenwood Fire Information,
please call 218-499-9441.
Moose Lake Fire: The Moose Lake Fire was detected in the afternoon on August 18 near Britt, MN,
south of Lake Leander and Lake 14. It is currently 25 acres in size and is now 100% contained. Three
engines and one water tender remain on scene to continue mop up operations.
Bunggee, Fourtown Lake, and Sundial South Fires: All three fires are located within the BWCAW
closure area. The Fourtown Lake Fire was first detected on July 25 approximately 12 miles N of Ely. The
fire is in containment lines at 265-acres and still showing some smoke. The Bungee and Sundial fires
remain the same size, 3.5-acres and a quarter acre respectively, and show no fire activity. All fires will be
continuously monitored by air.
Whelp Fire: The Whelp fire continues to grow and increased from 15 to 25 acres in the last few days.
This lightning-caused fire is four miles NW of Sawbill Lake in a remote area of the wilderness. Aerial
monitoring reports describe this as an actively moving surface fire with open flames visible. No fire-
fighting crews have been sent in due to difficult access, limited aircraft resources, and safety concerns.
Fire Boss engines (water-scooping aircraft) and helicopters are being used to dump water on these fires.
Aircraft will continue to monitor fire activity daily.
A Closure Order for the Louse River area is in effect, see closure section below for details. There are
wilderness ranger crews paddling the Louse River to sweep visitors from the area. The Forest is
evaluating the scope of this closure based on the fire’s growth.
John Elk Fire: The John Elk Fire continues to creep and smolder and remains at three acres. It is in a
remote area of the Wilderness, 2.5 miles south of Little Saganaga Lake and north of the Whelp Fire. No
fire-fighting crews have been sent in due to difficult access, limited aircraft resources, and safety
concerns. Fire Boss engines (water-scooping aircraft) and helicopters are being used to dump water on
these fires. Aircraft will continue to monitor fire activity daily.
Clara Island Fire: This fire continues to show some heat and smoke but remains contained to the island.
Clara Lake Island Fire is located 10 miles NNW of Lutsen, outside of the Wilderness. It was detected on
August 12 and is the result of an illegal campfire. The sprinkler system installed this week has been very
effective. This system allows for water to be continuously added to the fire while also reducing firefighter
exposure to falling dead trees. Aircraft and ground crews will continue to monitor daily.
Canada Fires: Quetico Provincial Park is managing several fires burning across the international border
from the BWCAW. Three of those fires have potential to spread into the US near Crooked and Iron lakes.
Today’s flight along the Canada Border showed very active fire activity. Fire was observed to be backing
towards the U.S. border. The Forest is conducting daily monitoring flights over the fires and coordinating
with counterparts in Ontario. For more information on the fires in Ontario and for an interactive fire map
AUGUST 20, 2021 – FACT SHEET
Superior National Forest Fires
Air Quality: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert effective until 3
p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20, for the inland portion of Minnesota’s Lake County. For more information on
current air quality conditions in your area and to sign up for daily air quality forecasts visit MPCA’s Air
Quality Index webpage.
Closures: There are three closures in place throughout the Superior National Forest: the Whelp Fire
closure, the Greenwood Fire closure, and the Crooked Lake area closure. For details, visit the Superior
National Forest webpage. With continued fires and a shortage of firefighting resources, these closures
allow firefighters to focus on existing fires or new starts without worrying about public safety.
Fire Restrictions: Due to continued long-term drought conditions and limited fire-fighting resources, the
Superior National Forest is not allowing campfires within the Forest boundary on National Forest lands,
including the BWCAW. Propane devices with an on/off switch are permitted, including lanterns, stoves,
and firepits. Please see Fire Restrictions Order and our Campfire Restrictions FAQ for more information. The MN Department of Natural Resources has various fire restrictions throughout the state. The burning
restrictions reflect on-the-ground conditions and wildland fire response capacity as assessed on a county-
by-county basis. Please see their website for additional details: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/index.html ###