When does 78 acres become 1000? When the government decides to have a “controlled burn”.

Forest Service quashes Burntside Lake evacuation rumors
By John Myers Today at 2:44 p.m.

Crews and aircraft continued to battle the Foss Lake wildfire west of Ely today and also attended to a separate, small fire on an undeveloped island on Burntside Lake.

Superior National Forest officials have said the 1,000-acre Foss Lake fire — the biggest wildfire in Minnesota so far this year — is more than 30 percent contained and has not grown much since Friday, but that high winds in recent days have caused some flare-ups.

The separate fire on an island on nearby Burntside Lake, a popular lake with many structures along its shores, apparently caused some concerns and a rumor that the lake was being evacuated.

Forest officials took the unusual step of issuing a news release this afternoon to quash the rumors, saying the island fire was quickly doused and that no evacuations have occurred and no structures were threatened.

Two U.S. Forest Service initial attack crews, a Forest Service Beaver aircraft and Morse/Fall Lake Volunteer Fire Department firefighters responded to the fire on a small island near the Little Long Lake portage on the east arm of Burntside Lake.

Aircraft have been sent to other areas since the island fire was slowed although firefighters remain on scene, working to ensure the fire is contained.

“We think that little island fire was a campfire left from Saturday that got going again,” said Becca Manlove, a spokeswoman for the Superior National Forest. “There are a few crews still on the island mopping up. But no one was ever evacuated”

The Foss lake fire, about 10 miles west of Ely, has prompted the closure of a small part of the BWCAW northwest of Burntside lake.

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