Aichele Road Fire

A topographic map with orange outline of fire progression.
The Aichele Road fire identified by the yellow dot and orange boundary line. Map retrieved from
  • Size: 265 acres
  • Detected: June 5, 2021
  • Location: 15 miles southwest of Baudette, Minn., off of Aichele Forest Road near Beltrami Island State Forest
  • Incident Management Team: MNICS Team A, Incident Commander Ernie Schmitt
  • Cooperating agencies: Minnesota DNR

The Aichele (Ike-Lee) Road fire was detected late in the morning of June 5, along the Aichele Forest Road near Beltrami Island State Forest. It was determined a lightning strike was the cause of the fire. Upon initial attack, the fire was observed to be actively running through lowland brush, conifers, and timbers. Excessive heat and windy conditions that day contributed to the fire’s rapid spread.

Minnesota DNR and the volunteer fire departments from Baudette and Williams responded to the initial attack. They worked throughout the afternoon and into the night to suppress the fire while constructing a dozer line around most of the fire’s perimeter. Several aircraft were also ordered, including air attack, CL-415s, CL-215s, Fire Boss air tankers and helicopters. The aircraft provided water drops throughout the afternoon and evening. Water was retrieved from Lake of the Woods near Zippel Bay State Park, fascinating weekend park visitors.

Recognizing the potential for impacted peat soils and the extended attack fire suppression needs, the Minnesota DNR made the decision on June 5, to request a MNICS Type 3 Incident Management Team to assume command.

MNICS Team A, led be Incident Commander Ernie Schmitt, took over the management of the fire on June 6. Team A ordered heavy equipment to mix peat soil with water. Track equipment, capable of transporting water into the fire, was also brought in and aided the work of ground firefighters as they identified and extinguished pockets of peat fire. Precipitation moved through the area on June 9, which increased humidity and reduced fire activity. With the fire 100 percent contained, MNICS Team A transitioned command of the Aichele fire back to the local responding DNR area forestry on June 10.

  • Aircraft dropping red retardant above trees.
  • Aircraft prepares to dip from blue water below.
  • People watch aircraft dip water from lake
  • Aircraft flying next to a blue sky with white clouds
  • Yellow tank and yellow fire engines in front of trees.
  • Forest landscape with a powerline and road.
  • Smoke rises next to power with a tractor moving through dirt.
  • Tractor scraps dirt near powerlines, trees, and wildfire.
  • Aircraft dropping water on to trees.