Firefighters battle small blaze near Elyby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
About 15 firefighters were battling a small wildfire Monday about 10 miles northwest of Ely in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
The fire started Sunday afternoon in a swampy area of black spruce. Two water-scooping airplanes helped knock back the 20-acre Cummings Lake fire.
But it threw up a lot of smoke. Fire Information Officer Becca Manlove says that caused concern among some Ely residents who thought the fire was closer to town than it actually was.
Manlove says there has been very little rain lately in the BWCA.
"What I can tell you is it's dry and crunchy out there," Manlove said. "We have been asking visitors to be particularly cautious with fire."
But she said the Forest Service hasn't placed any restrictions on campfires.
Manlove says a second fire about the same size burning just north of the Canadian border was also producing heavy smoke.
Three additional aircraft were flying over the BWCA searching for other fires.
The agency's move to quickly fight this wildfire marks a shift from last year's Pagami Creek Fire. The U.S. Forest Service made a temporary policy change this year to suppress all fires in wilderness areas immediately.