Late in the day on June 4th, a wildfire was detected southwest of Hassel Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) on the LaCroix Ranger District of the Superior National Forest. Hassel Lake is located west of Crab Lake and Burntside Lake and approximately 10 miles northeast of Tower, MN. The fire is believed to be caused by a lightning strike.
Due to the remoteness of the fire location aircraft have been brought in to support suppression efforts dropping water on the fire to cool and slow the spread over the past several days. On June 7, 2021, additional firefighters hiked and paddled to Boulder lake to work on an access route and install a pump with water hose line to the fire area. The fire activity through the day remained low, with smoldering and creeping fire on the ground. By the afternoon into the evening the fire became active and increased in size and water dropping aircraft, including a Fire Boss and CL-415 water scooping airplanes, were ordered to the fire.
Yesterday afternoon, all equipment and firefighters were brought back from the BWCAW and the fire was placed in monitor status. Recent precipitation and higher humidity levels helped fire crews on the ground to secure and mop up the fire. There has been minimal fire activity for the past several days. Local firefighters as well as the Wyoming Hotshot Crew were critical to the success of suppressing this fire on the ground working in hot temperatures, high humidity, and bugs. The Forest orders national hotshot crews during the spring prescribed fire and wildfire season to provide additional assistance to local crews. Having a hotshot crew available to help suppress this fire was very beneficial and we are thankful to be able to have this type of support from the national fire organization.
An Incident Commander is still assigned to patrol and monitor the fire area for the West Zone Fire organization. Monitoring will be done by aircraft flights over the fire. Smoke has not been very visible in recent days and isn’t expected in the future. The fire is now 100% controlled, which means that a control line has been completed around the fire and all hot spots that were an immediate threat to the control line have been cooled down and that these lines can reasonably be expected to hold under the foreseeable conditions. The status of the fire will be reassessed on a regular basis.
Closures: The Forest Closure Order was rescinded at 12:00 noon on June 11, 2021. The area of lakes, campsites, and portages within the BWCAW west of Crab Lake is now open for visitor use. This includes Clark Lake, Saca Lake, Meat Lake, Phantom Lake, Boulder Lake, Battle Lake, Hassel Lake, Lunetta Lake, Schlamn Lake and all the associated portages and campsites in this area.