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Forest Service expands closure order in Boundary Waters

July 18, 2021 GMT

ELY, Min. (AP) — Superior National Forest officials say they are expanding their closure order for the popular Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness north of Ely because of the threat of wildfires burning across the Canadian border.

The newly expanded order, which took effect Sunday, includes 12 more BWCA entry points and the area around Lac la Croix, in addition to the areas around Crooked and Iron lakes that had previously been included. It now stretches east nearly to Basswood Lake, west nearly to Crane Lake, and south to the Echo Trail, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Authorities say wildfires burning unchecked just across the border in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park could cross into the BWCA. Forest Service officials say the new order is meant to give campers time to leave the area.

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The closure order will last at least seven days, or until the fire danger has subsided.

“Recent reconnaissance flights conducted by fire managers have indicated an increase in fire behavior (in Quetico), despite the lighter winds; and fuels in this area are pre-heating and becoming more volatile,” Superior National Forest officials said in a release Saturday night.