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BREAKING NEWS: Boundary Waters Closed Due to Wildfires

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Area in northern Minnesota. Photo by Josh Hild from Pexels.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Area (BWCA) are now closed due to wildfires. All campers and visitors to the area have been ordered to evacuate.

This historic closure of the BWCA – a 1,090,000-acre area of pristine wilderness along the U.S.-Canada border – is a first since the area was formally set aside for conservation and recreation in 1978. The closure was driven by three factors: a historic drought that has produced tinder-dry wilderness conditions, the 9,000-acre Greenwood fire in Superior National Forest, and the rapidly growing John Elk [sic] fire, which swelled from 3 to 1,500 acres yesterday. The closures currently sprawl outside of the BWCA, starting west of Isabella, including the McDougal Lake Recreational Area, and extending north to the BWCA boundary.

The BWCA is approximately 20% open water and 80% virgin forest, and is often cited as the largest area of uncut, virgin forest remaining in the contiguous United States. Forest Service workers will traverse the area for the next several days to notify any campers who have not otherwise learned of the evacuation order.

Burning restrictions are also currently in place for most of central and northern Minnesota due to severe drought.

Official Notice

The Superior National Forest is closing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, effective August 21, 2021, due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources. The closure will be in place for seven days, and may be modified or extended as conditions allow. This closure includes all lands, waters, trails, portages, campsite, canoe routes and Entry Points in the Wilderness. See the closure order and map.

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