Where There’s Smoke There’s Sure to be Fire in the BWCA

     It’s that four letter "F" word again, the worst one there is, "FIRE."  I’ve been hearing about fires in the Southern United States, reading about fires across the border in the Quetico Park and now the Boundary Waters has a couple of fires burning. 

     There are currently two fires burning in the Boundary Waters that I am aware of.  One near Ely, MN in Lake Three and the other in Gaskin Lake off of the Gunflint Trail.  Neither fire is very large and I’m unsure of the cause of either fire.  The fires could have started from lightning strikes or more likely by careless campers.
BWCA Map of Fire on Gaskin Lake Boundary Waters
  Boundary Waters Map of Gaskin Lake in the BWCA
     Here’s what the USFS has to say about the Gaskin Lake Fire.
The US Forest Service Gunflint District received information on a wildfire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Monday night, June 13, 2011.  The fire is located on a small peninsula on the southwest end of Gaskin Lake where it was first detected by campers at about 8:00 in the evening.  
Fire personnel completed a reconnaissance flight early Tuesday morning to determine the Forest Service response to the fire.  It is currently about three acres in size and smoldering in a mix of white pine cedar and hardwoods.  It is not expanding in size.  Since the expected wind direction for the next few days would be toward Gaskin Lake, the fire is not expected to enlarge significantly.  
Additionally, the forecast for the next few days includes a chance of rain each day.  Therefore the fire management response will be to monitor the fire and not take any direct action.  There is one aircraft in the area today and the pilot will be routinely monitoring the fire.  There is also a wilderness crew on Gaskin Lake talking to wilderness visitors who will also provide a surface level review of the fire.  
Forest Service spokesperson Mary Ann Atwood said, “Our response could change if conditions warrant.”