Fires force closure of parts of BWCA

The Superior National Forest has closed a small portion of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness because of five spot fires.

A lightning storm Tuesday afternoon ignited six wildfires on the Superior National Forest.

One of the fires — the Wooden Leg Fire — is about a quarter acre large and is about three miles south of the Canadian border and roughly 20 miles east of Ely. It's also is burning very near an area of trees blown down by a wind storm 13 years ago.

Because of that, the Forest Service is closing Ensign Lake and seven smaller lakes in the Boundary Waters, said fire information officer Becca Manlove.

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"It's not a big bad fire right now. It might even snuff out tomorrow. But we just want to be extra sure," Manlove said.

A 50-acre fire near Cummings Lake has been burning since Sunday.

"We've been jumping on them as fast as we can find them," Manlove said.

Planes and a helicopter are dropping water on the fires. A new 20-person firefighting team arrived Wednesday to help ground efforts. Campfires in the Boundary Waters are now only allowed between 7 p.m. and midnight because of the dry conditions.