Background: Late in the afternoon on June 13, 2023, a 20-30-acre 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.
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. Aircraft dropped water on the fire.
Firefighter resources including a 19-person hotshot crew were transported to the fire area using float planes (remote wilderness) and worked the fire on-the-ground. Public safety staff swept the area for any visitors located near the fire area.
Effective June 16, a 100,000-acre emergency closure #09-09-23-03 was issued around the area for safety of the public and firefighters (included 80 campsites).
Fire activity continued to smolder in mixed timber and brush while fire crews mopped up hot spots on the fire and gridded the area. June 17, the fire was initially determined to be human caused and remains under investigation.