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.
Hassel Lake Fire Update June 9, 2021 – Yesterday, one half inch of rain that fell over the area Tuesday morning along with higher humidity helped to keep fire activity low. Additional mapping was conducted by ground firefighting crews, increasing the size of the fire to 21 acres. Ground fire fighting crews were able to begin assessment of the conditions and develop strategies needed to work on direct suppression of the fire. Crews also set up pumps and water hose lines.
Today, MNICS Incident Management Team B took command of the fire at 6:00 a.m. Team B brings additional safety, operational, logistical, and planning support to ensure that the fire crews in the Wilderness can focus on fire suppression. Firefighters will start using the water hose line for direct suppression work along the edge of the fire. Aircraft support will be also utilized as needed like helicopter bucket water drops to cool off areas of heat. A resupply of food for fire crews camping in the Wilderness will be coordinated through logistics.
Closures: A Forest Closure of lakes, campsites, and portages within the BWCAW west of Crab Lake is in place to ensure public and firefighter safety. This Closure Area 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. The closure includes the creek between Lunetta Lake and Little Crab Lake. BWCAW Entry Point #4 Crab Lake remains open.
Updates and a map of the location is also available on Inciweb.