On May 4 and 5, 2021 firefighters from the Superior National Forest, Utah, Colorado, Missouri, and California successfully burned the 576 acre Kangas Unit 5 located south of Ely, MN. The weather conditions were within prescription for fuel moisture, low wind speed, wind direction, and humidity levels in the 30-40% range and helped to produce an effective timber site prep burn for ecosystem management and fuels reduction. When fire managers reviewed the weather forecast for May 6, 2021 it was obvious that conditions would be out of prescription for prescribed fire with higher wind speeds and lower humidity levels. No prescribed fire activity was conducted on May 6, 2021 when critical fire weather and red flag warnings were issued. Crews continue to monitor Unit 5 and ensure that the prescribed fire remains within its boundaries.The units were recently harvested to prepare for future planting by reducing the slash and competing vegetation. These actions also support natural regeneration of long-lived conifer species, which in turn will diversify the species of trees in the area.
All the Kangas units are a part of the greater Ely area hazardous fuel reduction effort. Prescribed fire treatments reduce hazardous fuels and create a patchwork or mosaic of fire-resistant forest stands in the landscape that can reduce the intensity of future wildfires.