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Wildfire forces closure of Superior National Forest lands

The Forest Service is closing all forest lands on the upper portion on Gunflint Trail due to "fires in the vicinity and limited availability of firefighting resources."
wildfire john ek

A smoky, foggy sunrise along the Gunflint Trail on Aug. 24.

The U.S. Forest Service is closing Superior National Forest lands along the upper portion of the Gunflint Trail amid wildfire dangers. 

According to the Superior National Forest Facebook page Wednesday morning, the Forest Service is closing all forest lands due to "fires in the vicinity and limited availability of firefighting resources."

The closure includes all forest lands and roads along Cook County 12/Gunflint Trail, starting at the Cook County 92 intersection to the end of the Gunflint Trail. 

Here's a map: 

The closure area includes Trails End and Iron Lake campgrounds, with the Forest Service noting campground reservations have been canceled and refunded through Aug. 31. 

"The Forest will reevaluate this closure and determine whether or not it needs to be extended due to active fires," the post says.

This closure is consistent with the Cook County Sheriff's Office pre-evacuation area for the upper Gunflint Trail due to the John Ek fire, the Forest Service said. 

The John Ek fire was caused by lightning on Aug. 14 and is located 2.5 miles south of Little Saganaga Lake and extends from John Ek Lake to the southeast corner of Elton Lake. 

County roads and private roads remain open to vehicles, and the Forest Service says visitors may recreate on private land and enjoy resorts.

Related [Aug. 24]: Boundary Waters closure extended through Sept. 3 amid wildfire danger

There are at least 10 wildfires currently burning in northeastern Minnesota, which has prompted closures of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, other recreation areas and has forced some to evacuate.   

Related [Aug. 24]: Minnesota's Greenwood Fire explodes to nearly 20,000 acres

Among the wildfires currently burning, according to the state's incident information system

  • The Greenwood Fire, which is about 19,493 acres in size. 
  • The John Ek fire, which is about 1,563 acres in size.
  • The Fourtown Lake Fire, which is about 265 acres in size. 
  • The Whelp Fire, which is about 50 acres in size. 
  • The Gabi Fire, which is estimated at being a half-acre in size.
  • The Petit Fire, which is about a half-acre in size. 
  • The Rice Bay fire, which is about 1 acre in size. 
  • The Second Creek Fire, which is about 1 acre in size.

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