Update on prescribed burn south of Bear Island Lake

On May 13, 2017 firefighters from the Superior National Forest, Montana, Oregon, and Idaho successfully burned the 38 acre Log Bay Prescribed Fire Unit located on Bear Island Lake south of Ely and northwest of Babbitt. The weather conditions were good and helped produce a nice understory burn for fuels reduction and ecosystem management.

The prescribed fire unit is well contained and will be patrolled for hotspots.

Description: The 38-acre Log Bay Unit is located on the south end of Bear Island Lake. This unit was treated in 2014 with hand cutting of balsam and other small understory conifer. Prescribed fire is being used as a treatment tool here because it is very effective at reducing balsam fir. The concern in this area is thick balsam fir growth that provides a ladder for wildfire to climb up to the tree tops and spread. Prescribed fire will consume balsam seeds in the soil as well as any small seedlings and trees not cut by the hand crews. The radiant heat girdles and kills larger balsam fir trees and prevents them from producing any more seed.

Without fuel reduction, during dry conditions with prevailing westerly winds a wildfire could quickly grow and spread from national forest lands and threaten people’s homes and businesses.

Location: In northeastern Minnesota, in St. Louis County on the Kawishiwi Ranger District on the Superior National Forest southwest of Ely and northwest of Babbitt. The unit is a peninsula on Log Bay of Bear Island Lake. LEGAL: T61N R13W S15; Lat/Long: N 47’ 45.765” x W 91’ 58.574” (map attached).

· Firefighters will continue to patrol the unit today and then as necessary.

· Two campsites within the unit remain closed.