Firefighters pounce on BWCA fire, but it's growing

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.
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It is going to take some time, and some rain, to contain what has grown into a 30-acre blaze in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, fire officials say, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

What is being called the Cummings Lake fire is burning about 12 miles northwest of Ely. Fourteen firefighters were battling the blaze on land and a helicopter was aiding the fight Monday, the newspaper reported. Five aircraft were being used Sunday.

Firefighters established a control line on the eastern border of the fire Monday while the helicopter dropped suppressant, the Associated Press says.

The area is extremely dry and fire danger is high. Superior National Forest officials say that the fire is well within the BWCA, so no structures or civilians were immediately threatened, Northlands Newscenter reported.

According to Superior National Forest officials, 60 to 70 fires happen every year, about half started by people, Northlands Newscenter reports.

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A Tuesday night storm that passed through the Superior National Forest was a lose-lose for firefighters: it generated very little rain but plenty of lightning. A fire that's been burning since Sunday is a little bigger, but is now about 60 percent contained. Meanwhile, five smaller fires that were started by lightning strikes have forced the closure of a small part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

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.

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Ground crews are still battling the Cummings Lake fire Monday near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The fire, which started Sunday afternoon, is now about 20 acres in size and is located in a lowland area about 12 miles northwest of Ely. Five aircraft were attacking a 50-acre fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on Sunday night not far from Ely, the Duluth News Tribune reports. Crews were on their way to the remote site.

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Homes were evacuated on the southern edge of Ely, while crews are battled a 20-acre fire. Several fire departments were on the scene, using water-bombing planes and helicopters as well as ground crews. A downed power line apparently sparked the fire.

Forest service says all BWCA fires contained, controlled or out

The wildfires that have been plaguing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness area in northeastern Minnesota are contained, controlled or out, the U.S. Forest Service reported Saturday. However, with the forecast of dry weather in the next few days, campfire restrictions remain in the area and some lake and trail closures are still in effect.

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