BWCA firefighters in 'mop-up' mode

Cummings Lake Fire
A view of the Cummings Lake Fire from a canoe on the lake.
Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

A 50-acre wildfire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near Ely is about 40 percent contained, but crews now have their hands full battling three new small fires in the area.

Lightning from thunderstorms Tuesday evening started the fires in the Superior National Forest. Becca Manlove, a spokeswoman for the Kawishiwi Ranger District, said at this point, firefighters are confident they can control them.

"They're probably in what you would call a mop-up situation," Manlove said. "When they're mopping up, they're digging out the stuff, moistening it, looking for anything smoke, anything that look's hot still."

Eighteen people are staffing the original fire on Cummings Lake. An additional 20-person crew is expected to arrive today from Nebraska.

The Forest Service may place restrictions on campfires, but no decision has been made.

"We may be putting in probably hoot-owl restrictions, but none of that's official just yet," Manlove said. "Hoot-owl restrictions mean people can have fires only between 7 p.m. and midnight."

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