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‘The battle isn’t over’: Officials prepare to respond as Canadian wildfires near BWCA

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BOUNDARY WATERS, MN -- Fires raging in Quetico Provincial Park, just north of the BWCA, are now burning more than 19,000 thousand acres combined.

That's thanks to the severe drought and slight wind.

One of the seven fires burning in Ontario is located just two miles outside the Boundary Waters.

U.S. Forest Service leaders held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss their plan of action in case the fire jumps the border.

For the past two weeks, crews have fought Northern Minnesota's Delta Lake fire from the ground and the sky.

Keith Murphy, operations chief for the Eastern Area Team, said that fire is now 50 percent contained, but the battle isn't over.

"A couple of days ago we had a tenth of an inch of rain, that doesn't even affect those large fuels or that deep duff," Murphy said. "We need a lot more rain, hopefully pray for some rain so we can put this Delta Lake fire to bed."

Severe drought isn't just impacting the U.S.-side of the border.

RELATED: Fires rage on both sides of the border, no rain in sight

With several wildfires in Ontario, Superior National Forest personnel are preparing for the worst.

"Our big worry out here are these Canadian fires that still have fire on the landscape, uncontrolled fire on the landscape, and that's going to continue until the end of fire season," Stewart Turner, incident meteorologist for the Eastern Area Team said.

Officials do not think evacuations in Ely will be necessary, but they have a plan in place just in case.

For now, portions of the BWCA are closed including some entry points, lakes, and campsites.

Connie Cummins, forest supervisor for the Superior National Forest said it is a decision not made lightly.

"We know that putting these closures in place do impact our visitors and can impact the businesses associated with those visitors," Cummins said.

Fire officials evaluate these closures daily as they keep an eye on both sides of the border.

If you had a trip to the boundary waters planned, officials recommend you visit other lakes and campsites in the Superior National Forest instead.

Always stay up to date on current fire conditions before you go.

You can call the Superior National Forest fire information hotline at 218-214-7844.

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Kendall Jarboe

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