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Fire in Voyageurs National Park burns 30 acres

BY WILL ASHENMACHER NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER As many as 30 acres have burned in Voyageurs National Park after a prescribed burn got out of hand Thursday. Jim Hummel, the park's chief of operations, said a prescribed burn was lit on the east end ...

BY WILL ASHENMACHER

NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

As many as 30 acres have burned in Voyageurs National Park after a prescribed burn got out of hand Thursday.

Jim Hummel, the park's chief of operations, said a prescribed burn was lit on the east end of the Kabetogama Peninsula north of Mica Bay July 19. The fire was set to burn away understory and promote the growth of red and white pines, Hummel said.

On Thursday afternoon, park visitors reported a fire in the region of the prescribed burn.

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Hummel said a six-member crew had been monitoring the fire as it consumed the duff and undergrowth in the prescribed burn region, but high winds apparently reignited the fire.

The park requested firefighting air equipment from the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids Thursday and a 20-person fire crew from the agency Friday.

By Friday night, progress had been made against the fire, but it had not been extinguished, according to Hummel.

Hummel said the fire crew was still on the scene Friday night.

The fire drew near enough to the Kettle Falls Hotel that guests were asked to be prepared to leave, but ultimately no evacuation order was issued.

Voyageurs National Park has temporarily closed its south shoreline to all public use from Mica Bay Beach east to the Kettle Portage site. The Mica Island Campsite is also closed.

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