Greenwood Fire in Superior National Forest goes from zero to 14% contained

Firefighters combat flames on the southwest side of the Greenwood Fire in the Superior National Forest on August 26, 2021. (U.S. Forest Service)

The Greenwood Fire burning in the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota did not grow at all in the last 24 hours and is now 14% contained, according to the latest update from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Forest Service said crews took advantage of Friday’s cooler conditions, higher humidity and light rain to improve fire lines in the west and north parts of the fire to keep it at 25,991 acres.

Saturday’s priority is to hold the containment lines and prepare future defense operations along Highway 1 and along Stony River Grade Road to protect the community of Isabella and structures within the road corridor. To date, the fire has destroyed 14 cabins or homes and 57 outbuildings.

With the fire now at least partially contained, some evacuation orders are being lifted.

Today’s priority is to patrol, hold the containment lines, mop-up, and remove snags that could ignite or fall across the fireline. Prep work to hold the fire and future defensive firing operations will continue along Hwy. 1 and along the Stony River Grade Road to protect the community of Isabella and individual structures within the road corridor.  

The Greenwood Fire, which was started by lightning, was first detected on Aug. 15 around 3 p.m. near Greenwood Lake, about 15 miles southwest of Isabella. The fire is generally located between Greenwood Lake and the intersections of Highways 1 and 2.

Additional fires in Superior National Forest, Boundary Waters

Firefighters are also on the ground for the John Ek and Whelp firs, which are estimated to be around 1,563 acres and 50 acres respectively. The fires have seen little growth due to recent weather.

Authorities believe lightning cause both fires, which are each located in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Camping closures

Dispersed and backcountry camping - including outside of developed campgrounds - is prohibited in the Superior National Forest until further notice. All campsites on the Superior Hiking Trail are also closed.

Dispersed camping in state forests and backcountry camping in state parks will be closed the northern portion of St. Louis County, and all of Lake, Cook, and Koochiching counties. There is also closure in the upper Gunflint Trail to Forest Service roads, campgrounds, and trails. 

Private resorts/campground, developed Superior National campgrounds and non-BWCA lakes are still open unless specifically impacted by nearby fires. 

Officials said some decent rain did fall in the BWCA, which helped slow the growth of the fires, but the area is still very dry. 

The Forest Service has canceled all permits through Sept. 3, although the closure may be modified or extended.