7/28/21 – On July 26th the Forest Service detected a small wildfire near the portage between Beth and Grace lakes, about 3 miles to the southwest of Sawbill. Over the last couple of days they sent in a crew of 4 firefighters, conducted aerial surveys of the fire, and utilized aircraft for water drops. They are describing the fire as smoldering in hardwood litter, and it has been kept to roughly 2 acres in size. As of this morning, we are glad to report that it is 40% contained. Weather conditions have been in our favor, with another .15″ of rain falling last night, and cool mornings, calm winds, and overcast humid days.
There are no closures or reroutes in the Sawbill area at this time. The portage between Beth and Grace is still open, and recent paddlers have reported no evidence of the fire, other than the occasional aircraft overhead.
Travelling in the BWCA during wildfire season requires an extra level of awareness. If you are camped or travelling through an area that comes under threat of a wildfire, the Forest Service Wilderness rangers will sweep through the area and contact you, showing you the safest route by which to exit. It is a good practice to carry maps on your trip that cover the area around your route, just in case your travel plans have to change.
We’ll be sure to update this newsletter as we get more information about any fires in the area. At this point we are feeling grateful for the quick response from the Forest Service and will keep crossing fingers and toes for a good solid downpour.