ADVERTISEMENT

Popular wilderness area closures lifted after summer fires

October 3, 2021 GMT

ISABELLA, Minn. (AP) — The last remaining closure order related to wildfires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has now been lifted, according to Superior National Forest officials.

A hot and abnormally dry summer caused extreme fire danger and prompted a complete closure of the popular wilderness in northern Minnesota for a couple of weeks after wildfires broke out. The last remaining closure related to the John Ek and Whelp fires has now been lifted.

Cooler conditions and recent rainfall have helped keep the fires in check.

“We have not seen any smoke from the fire for a couple of weeks now, and we feel comfortable lifting this closure as this fire is unlikely to spread much, if at all,” Patty Johnson, the forest’s East Zone fire management officer.

The BWCA received 3 to 6 inches of rain in September, which is about normal for the month. But, officials say that over the longer term the region remains in drought conditions, Minnesota Public Radio News reports.

Fire crews have now removed all pumps, hoses and other equipment that had been staged for the John Ek fire.

Meanwhile, to the south and outside the wilderness boundary, the Forest Service has scaled back the closure area around the Greenwood fire, which has reached 80% containment.