Work to monitor, contain northern Minnesota wildfires continues

Thursday, Superior National Forest officials provided the latest updates on northern Minnesota wildfires.

Here are the latest updates:


Forest officials reported cleanup continues along the northern perimeter of the Greenwood Fire. The state’s largest wildfire remains 49% contained and continues to be about 40.8 square miles in size. Crews continue patrolling and monitoring the western side of the fire. The majority of the remaining heat is in the northeast corner of the fire deep in the peat layer, crews reported.


There was minimal growth for the John Ek Fire this week, according to officials. It is 0% contained and is about 2.1 square miles in size. Most of the work in containing the fire has been completed, including setting contingency lines on three sides of the fire. Officials said that should the fire become active again, contingency lines will be used as necessary, including conducting burnouts along the lines and/or turning on adjacent sprinkler systems. Aerial monitoring of the fire will continue and structure protection crews will be wrapping up their work this week.


The Whelp fire is 0% contained and 0.07 square miles in size, officials reported Thursday. Work setting a contingency line on the south side of the fire is complete and aerial monitoring of the fire will continue.

Overall, fire officials said low fire spread is expected Thursday and Friday.

Additionally, starting Saturday, forest lands and roads along the upper Gunflint Trail will reopen with the exception of Blankenburg Boat Launch, Iron Lake and Trails End campgrounds and facilities. The John Ek and Whelp Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness closures will also be downsized at that point. More information about closure updates can be found here.

Meanwhile, forest officials reported the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 3 will return management of the John Ek and Whelp fires back to the Superior National Forest team on Sunday morning. The team will continue to manage the Greenwood Fire.