DULUTH – Portions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are reopening Saturday, thanks to recent rain, cooler weather and progress firefighters have made fighting wildfires across northern Minnesota.
The Superior National Forest is lifting the full closure of the BWCAW and the Crooked Lake closure near the fires in Canada. It's slightly modifying closure maps for the Greenwood fire, and the John Ek and Whelp fires. The closure of U.S. Forest Service land at the Upper Gunflint Trail remains in place.
"We're thrilled to reopen some of our public lands to visitors. The drought is not over, but we're starting to see more rain and lower temperatures. These conditions moderate fire activity and lessen the chance of new fires showing up," Connie Cummins, supervisor for the Superior National Forest, said in a statement Wednesday.
The news comes as the 40-square-mile Greenwood fire is now expected to be brought under complete control by Oct. 10, a month later than earlier forecast, officials said Wednesday.
The date was changed because of the difficulty in extinguishing the many hot spots along the vast fire perimeter, said Clark McCreedy, spokesman for the interagency team managing the fire.
"The fire isn't really moving, but there are still pockets of heat," he said.
The fire in the Superior National Forest remained 37% contained Wednesday. McCreedy said he was "feeling very good about what's been accomplished so far." He said he expects the fire to be mostly under control long before October.