Northern Wilds Magazine
Along the Shore

Superior National Forest and partners respond to wildfires in northeastern Minnesota

Duluth, June 5, 2020 – Superior National Forest fire crews and partners from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and local community Fire Departments have been responding to wildfires across the Forest this spring and early summer season. Conditions in northern Minnesota have been dry and continue to be dry even with some short weather events that have brought rain for a few days. As local residents, cabin owners, and visitors spend more time in the outdoors and across the Forest, we continue to ask the public to be extra vigilant.

On June 2 a wildfire was reported late in the day near Thursday Bay on Crooked Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Fire crews responded and actively suppressed the fire keeping it to 5 acres in size. Crews remain on site and are actively mopping up the fire to make sure it is secure. This fire has been determined to be human caused, as an escaped “shore lunch,” not in an approved fire grate at a designated camp site. This recent BWCAW fire serves as a reminder that fire danger conditions remain high in the area and everyone needs to remember basic fire prevention practices including making sure that campfires are not left unattended and are out cold before leaving them. Since April 23, Forest Service fire crews have responded to 18 fires across the Forest with most fires remaining small from 1/10th of an acre to 1 acre in total size, but ranging in size up to 20 acres.  All of the wildfires on the Superior National Forest this season were human caused ignitions.

Please help prevent wildfires and lessen the burden on emergency responders by doing the following:

  • Don’t dump your sauna or wood stove ash with hot embers in the woods around your property.
  • Never let children handle fireworks. Any use of fireworks near forested or un-mowed grass areas leads to a high potential for wildfire ignitions.
  • Never park a vehicle over tall, dry grass (vehicles cause more acreage burned than any other equipment).
  • Install spark arrestors on outdoor equipment and recreational vehicles.
  • Check for dragging chains before hauling campers or trailers. Dragging safety chains down the road can quickly create sparks, causing roadside grass fires.
  • Burning trash is illegal, even in approved fire grates. Burning paper on windy days can easily blow out of the fire grate and quickly start a wildfire in nearby dry vegetation.
  • “Shore Lunch” campfires, except in a campsite with an approved fire grate, are illegal and are likely to burn into the soil duff and escape as a wildfire after the camper has left the location. Ensure even legal fire grate camp fires are fully extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving the location unattended.

For information and daily updates on Minnesota wildfire danger, current burning restrictions or to obtain a variance burn permit, visit the Minnesota DNR website at:

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