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Whelp and John Ek Updates

8/23/21 – We spent our day yesterday contacting Sawbill customers, fielding phone calls, and talking with the Forest Service. At the moment, the John Ek (renamed after confirming it was a map error that led to the name John Elk) and the Whelp fires are holding steady at about 800 and 50 acres, respectively. A relatively quiet day of fire activity allowed for more accurate measurement and mapping of the fire boundaries.

We are keeping track on this map in our office, updated based on maps from the USFS. Neither fire showed any growth on August 22nd.
A closer look at the Whelp Fire, which is holding steady about four miles from us.
The John Ek fire, the different color outlines show the fire’s growth over three days.

We are still safe, and are not under any imminent evacuation orders at this point. The Sawbill campground is still open, and the south end of Sawbill Lake is still available for paddling, fishing, and swimming. It’s eerie to have these beautiful, warm, sunny August days with so few visitors to share them with. Air quality has been very good, all things considered. Occasionally you can smell smoke on the air and things get hazy, but it seems to blow through pretty quickly. Today you can’t even smell it.

The Sawbill parking lot, looking a lot more like late October than late August.

We are expecting the Forest Service to make a decision whether to extend the BWCA Wilderness closure for the week of August 28th – September 3rd either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. As soon as we know what their determination is, we’ll be sure to post it here.