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Fire officials: Bezhik Fire in BWCA 100% contained, four structures lost

May 23, 2021 10:07AM ● By Editor
Photo: USDA Forest Service

From WDIO-TV Duluth - May 23, 2021

Firefighters have made significant progress in putting out the Bezhik Fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Containment was estimated at 100% as of Sunday morning.

The Minnesota Incident Command Team said firefighters will check the perimeter of the fire area again Sunday to seek out any pockets of heat and cool them down if found.

A local Incident Commander and small crew will remain assigned to the fire with the local west zone fire organization to continue monitoring the area over the next few days. If all goes well, crews will begin going home Monday.

This comes after suppression and mop up activities took place Saturday with crews and equipment along the northwest and northeast sides of the fire.

On the southeast and southwest sides of the fire, firefighters patrolled and monitored the fire perimeter watching for hot spots.

A helicopter was used to drop buckets of water to cool off areas of heat along the edge of the fire as needed.

The Superior National Forest has a Closure Order in place for Forest Road 464 (Moose Loop), Forest Road 465, BWCAW Entry Point #8 Moose River South and BWCAW Entry Point #76 Big Moose Trail. Additionally, people are asked not to fly in the area.

Wet weather appeared to be helping to slow the growth of the Bezhik Fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Friday and Saturday.

In an update Friday morning, the Minnesota Incident Command Team confirmed that 4 structures on private property were destroyed by the fire, including one cabin and three outbuildings lost. Officials estimated the fire to be at 950 acres, which was the same as an official estimates released Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

The lightning-sparked fire had grown from about 10 acres on Monday evening to about 950 acres by Tuesday evening, but firefighters say Wednesday's weather conditions helped keep fire activity lower. 

There are 109 personnel, one helicopter, and five engines assigned to the fire as of Friday morning.

"Fire crews will focus on identifying access routes and fire suppression work along the perimeter of the fire starting on the north side. Both direct and indirect operations will occur based on fire behavior and safe access routes," the commanders said in an update.

Due to the fire, the Superior National Forest has closed Forest Road 464 (Moose Loop), Forest Road 465, BWCAW Entry Point #8 Moose River South, and BWCAW Entry Point #76 Big Moose Trail. There is also a temporary flight restriction in the airspace over the fire.

To see the original post and related stories, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.
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