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UPDATE: Crews complete contingency lines for John Ek, Whelp fires; 0% contained

Update Sept, 9: The John Ek and Whelp Fires haven't grown in more than a week.

However, fire crews say if the fires become active again, contingency lines will be used as necessary, including conducting burnouts along them and/or turning on sprinkler systems adjacent to those lines.

Fire managers will continue to monitor the fire from the air.

Effective September 11, Superior National Forest 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 all associated facilities.

The forest is downsizing the John Ek and Whelp Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness closure.

Effective September 11, the following entry points will reopen: Seagull Lake Entry Point #54/#54A/L, Saganaga Lake Entry Point #55/#55A/J, Cross Bay Lake Entry Point #50, Kekekabic Trail Entry Point #56 and #74, Skipper and Portage Lakes Entry Point #49, Kawishiwi Lake Entry Point #37, Magnetic Lake EP #57, Larch Creek EP #80. Due to upper Gunflint Trail closure South Lake EP #58 is closed. Visitors with valid permits for Seagull Lake entry points will be able to access the lake via Blankenberg boat launch or Trails End campground. This is the only allowable public use of the boat launch and campground at this time.

The following entry points will remain closed until further notice: Missing Link Lake EP #51 and
Brant Lake Entry Point #52.

To see all the Forest closure orders and other alerts click here.

BOUNDARY WATERS, MN -- On Sunday, crews completed the contingency lines they have worked on the last several days clearing portages and setting up sprinkler systems to help contain wildfires burning in the Boundary Waters.

The John Ek fire remains at 1,357 acres in size with no containment

They have completed a line on the north side of the John Ek fire and on the east side.

Firefighters continue to work on the west side of the fire.

Structure protection crews are still assessing structures and removing debris near homes on the Gunflint Trail, from Poplar Lake to Round Lake and Tuscarora Lodge.

The Whelp Fire is five miles northwest of Sawbill Lake and just southeast of the John Ek Fire.

Crews completed contingency lines along the south side of the fire from Phoebe Lake to Sawbill Campground and will begin working their way out Monday.

The Whelp Fire remains at 50 acres in size with no containment.

Fire managers continue to use air resources to monitor the fire.

Parts of the BWCA and the Superior National Forest closest to the fires remain closed.

There are now three active wildfires in the BWCA, the John Ek, Whelp, and Fourtown.

Fourtown is 100% contained.

That's down from 8 fires burning in the BWCA 10 days ago.


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Kaitlyn Moffett

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