BWCA fires

Perhaps many here are aware of this, but if not, word should be gotten out.

Hope they get it under control soon. So hard to see what has happened to all those who lost it all when their homes burned out west. The grief and feelings of loss for the forest touches me too.

Similar problem on Isle Royale.

Hadn’t heard about Isle Royale… thanks for the info.
Its been quite a few years ago now, but my boss at the time and his son were forced to make a dash out of the BWCA due to a fire. That’s scary stuff. Hope every one who’s out there gets the word and can get out by a safe route in time. Electronic communications up there are iffy at best.

We’ve had some bad fire years in recent memory, but this is looking like it might be the worst yet. And the season’s still young.
Last week while out camp/paddling we, presumably like others here, we were under an air quality advisory due to “Canadian forest fires.” It was hazy. I suppose from up near Quetico… I don’t recall that happening here before.
But sure better than out west though… Lotsa’ folks need some of that rain that Tenn. got.

It is looking less and less likely that I’ll be using my entry permit for 14 September.

But, that’s a minor inconvenience compared to those who have already entered, the rangers trying to get everyone out, and the firefighters. Here’s hoping it is all done safely, and that the weather changes to help get the fires under control.

Yeah, We were planning to get together for the annual Daryl Bathyl memorial paddle on the Gunflint and do day paddles from there into the BWCA. We might have to switch to the Bois Brule, Namekagon, or Sylvania… we’ll see. As you say though - its a minor inconvenience for us and a much more serious matter for those who are in there now or who live near there. Its a national treasure (as is Isle Royale). Let’s hope they get it under control and get some good solid rain pretty soon.
Here’s hoping you get to use your permit.

I didn’t know about Isle Royale, and thanks for posting that info. I was actually considering that as an alternative to BWCA. I wonder with the closure of BWCA if the others you mention will have space.

Well, its late in the season so there is less pressure. That’s in our favor…
Sylvania (On the UP/Wisc. border) has a lot of campground capacity but far fewer paddle in sites, as it is much smaller. Nice old growth forests though. As our group is often too large for the regs for BWCA paddle/portage sites, campgrounds work better for us. You might not be so constrained.

If river paddling from a campground is acceptable to you, there are two campgrounds on the Bois Brule and its a very nice river. One section (Lenroot & Mays ledges) is challenging but low consequence rapids, the rest is just pretty sporty.
There’s a good (and free!) campground at Earl on the Namekagon R. and several private campgrounds. There are paddle in DNR sites on the river as well, available on a first come first served basis. Mike Svob’s “Paddling Northern Wisconsin” has maps showing their locations.

I haven’t been there in decades, but perhaps Voyageur’s, west of the BWCA, might be a suitable back up for you as well. Just sharing some thoughts on fall back possibilities as we both seem to be in similar situations with regard to the fire situation…

Thanks for the info, I was looking at Sylvania, and I recently found out about a small area in the U.P. that I hadn’t heard of before; Big Island Lake Wilderness. If I decide on a river it will probably be in the lower Peninsula of Michigan, and tie in a family visit while I’m there.

Perhaps some folks here remember dougae. Ozark guy who moved to the Gunflint and built a cabin. Well, I’ve gotten word he’s safe for now (and will remain so I assume - he’s an ex fire chief and knows how to handle himself around fire.) but the smoke is visible and fire is 8 miles from his cabin. He’s loaded up and ready to evacuate.
Let’s all keep him, and the others along the Gunflint, in our thoughts today. Maybe do a rain dance if we know one.


I did my rain dance and got laughed at by my wife. I have no experience at it, nor do I know if it has any effect. I needed the exercise anyway.

All joking aside really hope they get it under control.