TODAY’S MESSAGE: The fire is now 11% contained. The size increased slightly on Saturday from 93,472 acres to 93,898 acres. Crews completed structure protection on 30 structures on the south side of the fire. Air resources were used to their maximum capacity yesterday. Four helicopters flew a total of 25 hours dropping water on the fire perimeter, especially on the southern portion. Scoopers (CL-215s) also dropped a lot of water on the fire yesterday, focusing on the northern and eastern perimeter. Ground crews were equally busy, fighting the fire directly by continuing to construct fire line with saws and dozers and to lay hose. Crews deployed over 5,600 feet of hose on the southern perimeter alone. Today, a logistics crew is setting up a spike camp near Isabella, which will provide hot meals, showers, toilets, and camping space to more than 250 firefighters, engines, and camp personnel. Today’s humidities over 40% and the expected moisture will result in a creeping, smoldering fire across the entire fire area. The fire remains under unified command with Cook and Lake Counties.
· Host a community meeting at the Northern Tier Boy Scout Camp east of Ely off the Fernberg Trail (14798 Moose Lake Road) at 2:00 p.m.
· Host a community meeting at the Isabella Community Center at 11:00 a.m.
· Continue to monitor the 11% containment line.
· Continue to patrol and monitor for spots; construct direct line with hand tools, saws, and dozers; and mop up.
WEATHER: Winds early today will come from the south and southeast at 8–10 mph. By late morning the winds will come from the south and increase to 10–14 mph and gust at 18–23 mph. Scattered showers are expected throughout the day, providing a tenth of an inch or less of rain. Today’s high will be around 57 degrees and humidities will stay above 45% in the afternoon. The Haines Index is 3, which is very low. Over the next couple days, the winds will be affecting the fire from different directions: Monday’s winds will come from the northwest and then the west (10–15 mph, gusts to 20 mph), and Tuesday’s winds will be from the southwest and then the northwest (10–15 mph, gusts to 20 mph).
BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA WILDERNESS (BWCAW): The following entry points are OPEN: entry points along the Echo Trail (including Mudro); #25 Moose Lake (travel allowed only up the chain and to the west); #26 Wood Lake; #24 Fall Lake; the entire Trout Lake section (separate section south of the Echo Trail); #42 Brule ONLY; #54A Seagull ONLY; #55A Saganaga ONLY; and the small separate section northeast of the Gunflint Trail from #58 South Lake on the west to #70 North Fowl on the east. All other entry points in the BWCAW are closed.
ROAD CLOSURES: Highway 1 is still open. Closed roads include all roads north of Highway 1 from Forest Road (FR) 1468 east to Isabella; Wanless Road (FR 172) east to Cramer Road/Lake County Road 7; Cramer Road/Lake County Road 7 north to FR 354; FR 354 north to BWCAW boundary at Kawishiwi Lake; and the Wanless Road (FR172).
In Lake County, road blocks are at the intersections of Highway 1 and the Tomahawk Trail; Highway 1 and Deep Lake Road; Highway 1 and Bandana Road; Highway 1 and Mitawan Lake Road; Highway 1 and Arrowhead Road; Highway 1 and Wanless Road; Wanless Road and Manitou Junction; Wanless Road and Cramer Road/Lake County Road 7; Cramer Road/Lake County Road 7 and Hoist Creek Road; and Highway 1 and East Grade Road.
In Cook County, a road block is at the intersection of Sawbill Trail and Four-Mile Grade (Cook County Road 3 north of that intersection is closed). Four-Mile Grade is closed between FR 339 and FR 340.
Additional closures may occur.
SAFETY: Public and firefighter safety is the highest priority. No injuries, accidents, or swamped canoes have been reported. Forest-wide fire restrictions remain: building, maintaining, or using a fire or campfire, including charcoal fires, wood-burning camp stoves, and charcoal grills, is prohibited on all lands (federal, state, local government, and private) within the administrative boundaries of the Superior National Forest. Charcoal grills are allowed at private residences. Use of pressurized liquid gas stoves is allowed. With increased traffic due to the fire and grouse-season, all drivers—the public and fire personnel—should be alert and drive safely. Because the area’s soils and the root-systems of trees are shallow, fire can burn and weaken the roots but leave trees standing. The stability of the burned standing trees is deceptive, and they can fall over easily in windy, gusty conditions.
DATE OF DETECTION: August 18, 2011
CURRENT SIZE: 93,898 acres
LOCATION: The fire started at Township 63 N, Range 9 W, approximately 14 miles east of Ely (within the BWCAW) in the Pagami Creek area between the South Kawishiwi River, Clearwater Lake, and Lake One. The fire perimeter from the north is Lake One, Lake Two, Lake Four, and Lake Insula. The perimeter on the east is the southern edge of Lake Polly and east of Kawasachong Lake, the northwest and southern shores of Square Lake, the western shore of Perent Lake, and the northwestern shore of Silver Island Lake, where the fire exited the BWCAW. The southern perimeter crosses the intersection of Island River Road and Lake Twenty-Nine Road, Twenty-Nine Lake, and the Isabella River to just inside the BWCAW at Bog Lake.
AGENCIES: Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and Superior National Forest
SMOKE CONDITIONS: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and incident personnel are monitoring smoke conditions. Visit the following website for more information: pca.state.mn.us
RESOURCES: There are 565 people assigned to the fire, which includes five Type 1 crews (hotshot crews) and eight Type 2 crews. There are also three Type 2 helicopters, one Type 1 helicopter, eleven engines, four dozers, and 1 water tender assigned to the incident.