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Boreal Community Media

Spice Lake Fire June 20 update: fire 90% contained

Jun 20, 2023 08:34AM ● By Content Editor
Image: US Forest Service 

From the US Forest Service - June 20, 2023

Date Detected: June 13, 2023

Current Size: 22 acres

Containment: 90 percent


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, approximately 10 miles west of the Gunflint Trail.

Current Status

Fire activity is creeping and smoldering in mixed timber and brush. Fire crews continue to mop up remaining hot spots on the fire. Mopping up involves putting water on the fire, and using tools to mix it into the soil and duff to extinguish the heat until the area is cooled. Firefighter and public safety are the number one priority. The fire has been initially determined to be human caused and is still under investigation.

Planned Activity

Thirteen firefighters remain on site at the fire area. MNICS Team B will transition the fire back to the Superior National Forest on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Remaining firefighters continue to monitor the fire, mop up any smokes and hot areas, and bundle up firefighting gear for backhaul. They continue to work with on-site resource advisors to ensure wilderness values, long-term ecosystem health, and impacts to wilderness are minimized. 

Closure Area

The Superior National Forest has implemented Forest Order (09-09-23-03) for a closure area of lakes, portages, and trails around the fire for public safety. Public safety crews are redirecting visitors and posting portages closed. Details can be found at Superior National Forest - Alerts & Notices (

Burning Restrictions

The Superior National Forest has implemented a Forest Order (09-09-23-02) for campfire restrictions due to continued dry conditions and very high wildfire danger. This Order will remain in effect until further notice. See the Superior National Forest website for more information on fire restrictions.

Business Update

No businesses along the Gunflint Trail have closed due to the fire and are ready to help with trips and services. If you have an upcoming reservation, please contact your guide or cooperator or the Superior National Forest with questions. 

Cooperating Agencies

National Park Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

For a recent video on the status of the fire from Aaron Mielke, Spice Lake Fire’s Incident Commander:

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here