BWCAW closures lifted around Delta Lake fire

Campfires are still prohibited in the BWCAW and Superior National Forest.

Wildland firefighters hike in to battle the Delta fire about 20 miles east of Ely on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in July 2021. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)

The Superior National Forest lifted the closures in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness around the Delta Lake fire as crews continue to secure the fire's footprint.

The closures lifted Saturday after an infrared flight over the area revealed "little to no heat outside the original 62-acre footprint of the fire," a news release from the forest service said.

"Although we are confident that Delta Lake Fire containment line is secure, this isn’t the end of the fire season," forest supervisor Connie Cummins, said. "The drought continues and the fires are still active in Canada."

The rescinded restrictions means the following areas are open again: Drag Pristine Management Area, #56-Kekekabic Trail East Entry Point, #74-Kekekabic Trail West, the entire Kekekabic Trail as well as the previously closed lakes, campsites and portages.

The first Delta Lake closure went into effect July 9, two days after the fire was first detected. The fire was burning in a dense blowdown area.


The fire is currently wrapped in four miles of hose and firefighters are continuing the mop-up process, or extinguishing residual fire spots.

The mop-up process will be complete when a 100-foot deep containment line exists around the fire perimeter, the release said. That will ensure any hotspots are secured and reduce chances of a fire flaring up outside the perimeter.

The forest service and Eastern Area Incident Management Team reported that fire was 80% contained as of Saturday morning.

"I’m happy that we can announce the end of the Delta Lake Fire closure and that people can get back to enjoying this part of the Wilderness,” Cummins said.

Fire restrictions remain in place. Campfires are still prohibited in the BWCAW and Superior National Forest.

A 7-acre fire, reported Thursday, is burning in a hardwood stand west of Ely near Lake Vermillion. Helicopters have been dropping water on the fire as additional personnel supports the effort from the ground.

Three fires in Canada's Quetico Provincial Park continue to burn, with potential to spread across the border into the BWCAW.

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