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LATEST: John Ek, Whelp Fire closures lifted


BWCA-- Forest Service officials are lifting the last of the closures that were put in place due to the John Ek and Whelp Fires.

This comes after the low fire activity and decreasing fire danger due to fall weather conditions and rain.

This month the forest received three to six inches of rain, which is normal for the month of September.

“We have not seen any smoke from the fire for a couple of weeks now, and we feel comfortable lifting this closure as this fire is unlikely to spread much, if at all,” said Patty Johnson, East Zone Fire Management Officer for the Superior National Forest.

The forest pulled all equipment off the John Ek Fire last week.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has fully reopened again.

The only remaining fire-related closure on the forest is the Greenwood Fire perimeter area closure.

BOUNDARY WATERS-- With the weather in our favor lately, the Superior National Forest is lifting fire restrictions across the forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness management area.

RELATED: Superior National Forest to reopen some areas; burning restrictions lifted in 14 counties

Officials say rainfall has increased and temperatures are cooler so the chance of a fire becoming established is lessening.

Visitors can once again have campfires at designated fire grates, as well as the use of tiki torches, charcoal grills, barbecues, and other stoves in the forest.

“Weather and rain have finally cooperated and the forest feels confident it is safe to fully lift fire restrictions at this time. While the window for fire risk is closing, it’s not entirely shut. We ask that our visitors practice vigilance and ensure campfires are fully extinguished before leaving them unattended,” said Chase Marshall, fire management officer for the Superior National Forest.

However, officials are still staying cautious of the potential flare-ups during hot, dry days that could come.

Fire prevention tips:

  • Camp only at designated sites and use official fire grates for your campfires.
  • Keep your fire small, not tall.
  • Make sure your campfire is fully extinguished and make sure it is cold to the touch before leaving it.
  • Use fire starters and/or kindling, rather than flammable liquids to get your campfire started.
  • Avoid parking vehicles over tall, dry grass (vehicles cause more acreage burned than any other equipment).
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Molly Wasche

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