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Lightning starts more fires in BWCAW

Campfires restricted
Campfires restricted

Lightning has touched off more wildfires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Superior National Forest spokeswoman Becca Manlove says a small storm rolled through on Tuesday night. She says the storm didn't bring much rain but it did bring lightning.

The Associated Press reports the lightning ignited five fires in the BWCAW. Manlove says those small fire are now the targets of "suppression efforts."

Meanwhile, a wildfire continues to burn northwest of Ely. Authorities had estimated the blaze had covered 40 acres, but that has been adjusted to 50 acres based on GPS data.

Manlove says that fire is about 40 percent contained, with 18 firefighters on the scene. The cause of that blaze isn't known.

None of the fires has threatened buildings or people.

With small fires popping up in the Boundary Waters and tinder-dry conditions posing a potential hazard, campfires are being restricted and more than a half dozen lakes and part of a well-known hiking trail have been closed.

The Duluth News-Tribune reports firefighters began evacuating campers from Ensign Lake, which has more than 20 campsites, and nearby smaller lakes late Tuesday. Portages leading into the area were also closed. Officials also closed part of the 24-mile Snowbank Lake Hiking Trail from the trailhead to Boot Lake.

Until more rain dampens the fire hazard, campfires in the entire Boundary Waters will only be allowed from 7 p.m. to midnight.