SATURDAY UPDATE: Foss Lake fire now said to be 440 acres

Fire photo by Robert Underwood©

A community meeting on the Foss Lake Fire was held Friday night at Vermilion Community College’s Fine Arts Theater

The USFS prescribed burn started Thursday, May 19 in the Foss Lake area. On Friday it was to be turned over to the Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) Type II Team.

The fire’s location is 10 miles west of Ely, MN, in St. Louis County, one mile west of the southwestern edge of Burntside Lake, north of Foss Lake, and south of Crab Lake. The fire is burning north within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

The Foss Lake Prescribed Fire escaped containment after an unexpected change in weather conditions, according to a Forest Service news release. It stated, “a spot fire north of the control line escaped containment and the wind-driven fire spread to the north. Aircraft that were on standby responded quickly and, with the work of ground crews, were able to slow the fire’s eastward spread with water and retardant drops, protecting the west and north sides of Burntside Lake. The fire spread north to Crab Lake in the BWCAW. There was no fire growth to the south.”

No structures in the area are said to be threatened. Resources include 80 personnel and 8 aircraft. The Vermilion Fire Department’s fire boat is stationed on Burntside Lake. Morse/Fall Lake Fire Department is on structure protection.
The earliest chance of rain over the fire area is Monday.

Closures: Currently, just one BWCAW entry point is closed: entry point #4 Crab Lake. All other entry points remain open. The closure area includes the following BWCAW portages and lakes, including campsites:
• Crab Lake BWCAW entry point and portage from Burntside Lake to Crab Lake
• Crab, Boulder, Phantom, Battle, Sprite, Meat, Clark, Glimmer, Hassle, Saca, Little Crab, Korb, Maxine, Barefoot, Little Jig, Silaca, Coxey Pond, Lunetta, Schlamn, Soroll, Glenmore, Western, Blick, Chad, Dugout, and Pine Lakes and associated portage trails
• Cummings Lake portage from Cummings Lake to Korb Lake and Cummings Lake to Korb River
• Pine Creek East of Trout Lake
• Pine Lake portage from Trout Lake to Pine Lake