Duluth, Minn., June 14, 2023—8:00 pm
Incident Name: Spice Lake Fire Size: Estimated at 20acres
Near Spice Lake within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), Superior National Forest, Lake County, Township 65 North, Range 6 West, Section 27
Late in the afternoon on June 13th, a wildfire was detected between Spice Lake and Ogishkemuncie Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) on the Gunflint Ranger District of the Superior National Forest. Spice Lake is located east of Knife and Kekekabic Lakes and southwest of Seagull Lake and approximately 10 miles west of the Gunflint Trail. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
At the time of detection, the fire was actively burning in a mixed Boreal forest with aspen, pine, and balsam fir tree species. Within the forested landscape of the fire area, there are Spruce Budworm affected trees, both standing and dead laying down that can increase fire behavior.
Fire managers took an aircraft flight over the fire this morning to start developing strategies and tactics for suppression while ensuring firefighter safety. The fire was creeping and smoldering at mid-morning. Additionally, staff are working on a public safety plan including a closure order for the area to ensure public visitors remain safe. Additional details will be shared as these plans are developed.
Aircraft have been dropping water on the fire throughout the day and this afternoon’s report is that the fire is estimated at 20 acres with low fire behavior. Firefighters are being transported to the area using float planes.
Firefighter resources including a 19-person hotshot crew will arrive at the fire within the next few days to access and work the fire on-the-ground as needed. Public safety staff will begin sweeping the area for any visitors located near the fire area.
Resources: A 19-person off-Forest hotshot crew. Additional Forest fire staff may be on the fire as point of contacts. A helicopter and other aerial resources are available to assist suppression activities as needed. The Forest’s Beaver airplane will patrol the fire area, shuttle personnel and gear, and could drop water as needed for fire suppression. Due to the logistics of supporting firefighters on this Wilderness fire a Minnesota Type 3 team has been ordered and will in-brief on June 15, 2023.
The Superior National Forest will be implementing a closure restriction in the near future for a travel area around the fire for public safety. Public safety crews will sweep the closure area to redirect visitors and post portages closed.
The Superior National Forest has implemented a Forest Order (09-09-23-02) for campfire restrictions due to continued dry conditions and worsening wildfire danger. This Order will remain in effect until further notice. See the Superior National Forest website https://www.fs.usda.gov/superior for more information on fire restrictions.