Forest Service to burn near Basswood and Crab lakes

Superior National Forest managers plan to conduct some prescribed fires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) on the LaCroix, Kawishiwi and Gunflint Ranger Districts. Depending on the fuels and weather conditions, the prescribed fire units will be burned starting as early as September 3, 2019 and before the end of October, 2019.

The purpose of these prescribed fires is to improve public safety by reducing the potential for high-intensity wildland fires to spread from the BWCAW into areas outside the Wilderness with intermingled ownership containing homes, cabins, resorts, or into areas across the international border into Canada. Reducing dangerous fuel loads to reduce the risk of a quick-spreading large wildfire is often an objective for a prescribed fire. The prescribed fire units planned for implementation include Crab Lake and Basswood (Prairie Portage) near Ely and Duncan Lake and Lux Lake near the Gunflint Trail. These prescribed fire projects all remain from the 2001 BWCAW Fuel Treatment Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and were revalidated for implementation by the 2016 Supplemental Information Report (SIR). The units are all connected to the significant windstorm that occurred on July 4, 1999 affecting approximately 500,000 acres across the Superior National Forest.

Prescribed fires are carefully planned in advance, with involvement from specialists in all of the resource programs on the Forest and designed to be implemented under specific conditions (prescription) to meet management objectives. Several considerations go into planning a prescribed fire including fuel types, presence of sensitive plants or animals, visitor use, fuel moisture, winds, relative humidity, and projected weather. Prescribed fires are only ignited when weather conditions are favorable. To date, approximately 49,367 acres of the areas affected by the 1999 windstorm blowdown have been treated with prescribed fire.

For more information regarding these planned prescribed fires, please call the West Zone Fire Information phone at 218-248-2411 or the Gunflint Ranger District at 218-387-1750. Additional details about the planned prescribed fire units and the Prescribed Fires and Fire Program is available on the Superior National Forest website at:

For updates regarding ongoing fire activity, visit the national INCIWEB site at