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Closures Continue In John Ek And Whelp Wildfires

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Closures continue in northern Minnesota due to the ongoing John Ek and Whelp Wildfires.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, Superior National Forest lands and roads along the upper Gunflint Trail are closed including roads along Cook County 12/Gunflint Trail beginning at the Cook County 92 intersection and to the end of the Gunflint Trail. Trails End, Iron Lake campgrounds and South Lake are also closed.

Most of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness closure has been lifted, but temporary flight restrictions remain in place over the fire areas.

According to authorities, crews have flown into the John Ek fire to “improve portages and sprinkler systems” along the east and west sides. Structure protection crews are also said to be working on the south side of the Gunflint Trail in the areas of Poplar Lake, Round Lake, and Tuscarora Lodge.

The USFS says crews will begin constructing a contingency line on the south side of the Whelp fire from Phoebe Lake to Sawbill Campground Friday.

On Sept. 2, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office officially changed the evacuation status of the Upper Gunflint Trail back to “Ready” status. There are currently no mandatory evacuations in Cook County, however, the USFS says the public should continue to monitor fire statuses as conditions can change quickly.

Fire crews are said to be monitoring a possible storm that is set to move through the Great Lakes region Friday, bringing a chance of rain for the fire area. Clouds and scattered showers should keep temperatures cooler and can help moderate fire behavior.

To see the current John Ek/Whelp closures, full forest order and other alerts, click here.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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