Fall Prescribed Burns Produce Positive Results

Kekekabic prescribed burn. Photo By Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak
Kekekabic prescribed burn. Photo By Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak

The US Forest Service, partnering with the Ontario Fire Service, carried out two successful prescribed burns within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) on October 10th and 11th. The Arc Lake and Honker Lake Area burns were conducted in conjunction with a burn in the Kekekabic region, along the western edge of the Gunflint Trail, but outside of the BWCAW. The three burns, which covered 6,401 acres, were the largest prescribed burns in the Gunflint region since the July 4, 1999 storm. The burns were conducted by roughly 140 people from the US Forest Service and the Ontario Fire Service.

The 2,633 acres of the Arc Lake area prescribed burn were ignited on October 10th using plastic fire propellants , helitorches, and hand ignition methods. The fire went as planned with no fire spread occurring in non blowdown areas. The Honker Lake area burn was also ignited using plastic fire propellants and two helitorches. Only 75% of the 1,553 acres were burned due to a strong wet weather system that shut down operations. And, although not all of the blowdown area was successfully burned, the objectives were met in most of the area with no reports of fire spread or other significant events.

The US Forest Service has plans to burn 20,000 acres in 2004 with the majority of the prescribed burns in the Gunflint District.

This article was published in Wilderness News Fall 2003

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