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Hot spots remain, but fire crews leave smoldering remains of BWCA fire

Fire crews have left the smoldering Boundary Waters Canoe area, confident any hotspots will burn themselves out. Even as smoke continues to rise, new growth is returning.
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Firefighting crews pulled out of the Boundary Water Canoe Area after the fire burning there since August is all but extinguished. The Duluth News Tribunes reports some workers remain to remove things like 150 miles of fire hose, 200 canoes and other equipment incorporated to bring the state's largest-ever forest fire under control. They're also leaving behind a $22 million bill.

The Tribune tallies the damage after the fire charred almost 100,000 acres of pristine forest. Officials will use ground and aerial observations to monitor any worrisome areas.

But even before the smoke clears, signs of new life are returning to the crown jewel of Minnesota's natural areas. Minnesota Public Radio paddles through BWCA campsites to find grass sprouting on the blackened forest floor. Experts say the burned area will burst with new, green plants come spring.

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Crews continue to battle BWCA fire

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.

New fires lead to closings in the BWCA

The Forest Service has closed some areas of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, where three new wildfires are burning. The largest is 75 acres. But crews are aggressively fighting another two-acre fire because it's near an area of dry timber that was part of the 1999 blowdown.

Small portion of BWCA closed due to new fires

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.

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.

No luck needed to visit the BWCA

The U.S. Forest Service announced an end to the long-running lottery for entry into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The 1.1 million-acre wilderness will now accept entry applications on a first-come, first-served basis

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.

Forestry officials underestimated beginnings of BWCA wildfire

U-S Forestry Officials vastly underestimated the beginnings of a wildfire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The Star Tribune reports internal memos show an initial wait-and-see approach set the stage for the blaze to explode into the largest fire the state has seen in almost a hundred years.