BWCA fires grow to 100 acres, 40 percent contained


The blaze known as the Knife Fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness grew to 100 acres, up from 15 acres Tuesday, but fire officials Wednesday said it was already 40 percent contained, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

The blaze was actually three fires, one of which has been put out, the newspaper reports.

The crews working the fire include 16 firefighters and four public-safety staff, the News Tribune says. Crews are using a CL215 air tanker, a small helicopter and three other aircraft to drop suppressant on the flames.

Crews also are setting controlled burns in an effort to steal fuel from the approaching flames.

The U.S. Forest Service has a map of an area that has been closed around the South Arm of Knife Lake, including part of the lake itself, along with 24 campsites and nine portages.

The BWCA is part of the Superior National Forest, more than 1 million acres in size, and spans nearly 150 miles along the International Boundary adjacent to Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park, bordered on the west by Voyageurs National Park. The area, which lures tourists awed by its natural beauty, contains over 1,200 miles of canoe routes.

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Wildland firefighters were quick to head off to a fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, first reported Sunday afternoon northwest of Ely, which has grown to about 30 acres and will get bigger before it can be contained, officials said. No structures were immediately threatened. The cause isn't yet known.

BWCA officials monitoring nearly a dozen fires

The fires burning in the Boundary Water Canoe Area are mostly small, lightning-sparked blazes. A little rain Thursday didn't do much to help put them out. A small area of the BWCA wilderness and a hiking trail were closed. The biggest fire is the 50-acre Cummings Lake fire, which has not grown much in the last few days.