ISABELLA, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Greenwood Fire that has prompted closures throughout the Superior National Forest has gone from 14% to 37% contained over the last 24 hours, the U.S. Forest Service reported Tuesday.
Favorable weather and defensive efforts helped to contain the fire. The Forest Service said a quarter to three-quarters of an inch of rain is expected in Minnesota’s Arrowhead region later in the week, which will moderate fire behavior and ease drought conditions somewhat.
Firefighting crews have created a substantial fuel break along Highway 1 that is helping to improve containment lines. A total of 505 personnel from multiple states are currently fighting the wildfire.
Heavy equipment group working on fuel breaks to improve containment lines on Aug. 29. (U.S. Forest Service / FOX 9)
The Greenwood Fire is generally located between Greenwood Lake and the intersections of Highways 1 and 2. The fire has burned 26,000 acres and destroyed at least 71 structures since it was first detected on Aug. 15 near Greenwood Lake, about 15 miles southwest of Isabella. Officials confirmed the fire was started by lightning.
Evacuation orders were lifted over the weekend in the Slate Lake area, including the area from Chub Lake to New Tomahawk Road. However, evacuation orders remain in effect for McDougal Lake, the Highway 2 corridor, and the Mitawan Lake Road area.
Highway 2 remains closed from Forest Highway 11 to Highway 1. Highway 1 is closed from New Tomahawk Road to Lankinen Road.
Camping outside of developed campgrounds, including dispersed and backcountry camping, is prohibited in the Superior National Forest until further notice. All campsites on the Superior Hiking Trail are also closed.
As of Monday, dispersed camping in state forests and backcountry camping in state parks is closed in 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.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness remains closed as well due to several active wildfires, including the John Ek and Whelp fires. The Forest Service has canceled all permits through at least Sept. 3.