John Ek and Whelps
42.4 mi
NNE of Silver Bay, MN
1 monthago
Fire Status:
Last Updated:
26 mins, 56 secs ago
Incident #:
Fire Start:
Friday, August 13, 2021 7:00 PM CDT

Current Weather

Fire Growth Potential

Fire Weather Forecast

Incident Overview Updated: 6 days ago

Incident Photo for the John Ek and Whelps Fire

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On the afternoon of August 18th, the John Ek and Whelp Fires were discovered by an aerial detection flight within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  Both fires are lightning caused.  The John Ek Fire is 2.5 miles south of Little Saganaga Lake and extends from John Ek Lake to the SE corner of Elton Lake. The Whelp fire is five miles northwest of Sawbill Lake. The fires are currently being managed by the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 3. 

For Superior National Forest Closures visit:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/superior/alerts-notices 
For Superior National Forest Fire Restrictions visit:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/superior/alerts-notices/?aid=67256
For MN DNR Fire Restrictions visit:   https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/index.html 

Basic Information

Incident Type:
Date of Origin:
Saturday, August 14, 2021 12:00 AM CDT
Lake County, Tofte Ranger District within the BWCAW
Incident Commander:
IC Mike Almas, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 3
47.909, -90.992

Current Situation

Total Personnel:
Size (Acres):
Fuels Involved:
Timber, brush, med. logging slash.

A mixture of dry pines, black spruce bottomlands, aspen and birch, marsh grasses and mature white and red pine probably limited growth potential over the life of the fire.

Live fuels have been stressed since June with more than 40 days with temps above 80. Ignition potential allowed spotting to breach large water bodies and other barriers.
Significant Events:
Minimal fire behavior with creeping and smoldering.

Planned Outlook

Planned Actions:
John Ek: Continue working with affected community on fire wise mitigation and create a defensive strategy to protect critical infrastructure along the Gunflint Trail corridor.

Whelp: Patrol fire by air. Use aircraft to suppress fire and minimize growth.
Projected Incident Activity:
12 hours: Despite mild, sunny weather, no fire movement anticipated for rest of burn period today and overnight due to precipitation yesterday afternoon over the fire area.

24 hours: Continued mild conditions, but no significant fire movement anticipated.
The John Ek Fire is at 1,357 acres and is 0% contained. The Whelp Fire remains at 50 acres and is 0% contained.

Weather Synopsis

Weather Concerns:
A fast moving front moved through the Arrowhead Region this morning with isolated showers near the Canadian border but not the fire areas. Behind the front, drier high pressure built into the region on occasionally gusty winds. Afternoon temperatures warmed into the lower 70's with minimum relative humidity's in the upper 30's and northwesterly winds increased to around 10 mph with gusts around 20 mph observed.

The cooler high pressure area will quickly move through the Great Lakes Sunday with a slight increase in humidity's as winds remain light. The next storm system is expected to move through the region with a chance of showers and thunderstorms early next week.

Incident Contact

Incident Contact
Gunflint Ranger District
Phone: 218-387-1750
Fire Unit Information
Superior National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
8901 Grand Ave Place
Duluth, MN 55808