ELY– The U.S. Forest Service reported several fires in the Ely area late last week due to extremely dry conditions and a lightning storm on July 4. Hot shot crews continued to battle the …
ELY– The U.S. Forest Service reported several fires in the Ely area late last week due to extremely dry conditions and a lightning storm on July 4. Hot shot crews continued to battle the largest, the Delta Lake fire, this week, as worsening drought has pushed the fire danger to extreme.
The Delta Lake fire is burning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, in a thicket of waist- to chest-high blowdown dating back to 2016, that is hampering firefighter access, according to an update from the Forest Service’s Incident Command Team, which assumed unified command over the fire cluster response early Saturday morning.
The Delta Lake fire, first detected last Wednesday, remained at zero-percent containment as of mid-week. The fire is south of Snowbank Lake, approximately 19 miles east of Ely.
On Tuesday, firefighters worked to establish containment around the fire, which had grown to about 65 acres in size. Given the difficult access to the area, air resources were critical to keeping the fire in check. Meanwhile, ground crews had achieved access to the hot edge of the fire and were constructing a containment line along the west flank of the fire as of late Tuesday.
By Sunday, Forest Service crews reported they suppressed the Astray, Picketts Lake and Hassel fires and continued to monitor these areas for hot spots.
Last Friday the Forest Service ordered the following closures due to the Delta Lake fire by Snowbank Lake:
• BWCAW entry point closures: Kekekabic Trail EP West/ Snowbank #74, and Kekekabic Trail EP East #56.
• BWCAW campsites, portages and lakes closures: Parent, Disappointment, Jitterbug, Ahsub, Becoosin, Benezie, Adventure, Rifle, Bridge, and Fire lakes.
Campers planning a trip to the Boundary Waters should check ahead for current fire conditions.