Fires Force the U.S. Forest Service to Close

Environment: NPR


For the first time in forty five years the us forest service has closed the boundary waters canoe area is wilderness in northern minnesota includes one million acres of lakes and rivers and forests many of which are now on fire. Minnesota public radio's dan crocker. Reports many of the fires here are burning within the boundary waters. But the largest is just south. It's the greenwood fire and it scorched more than thirty square miles of forest and it's forced the evacuation of nearly three hundred households. I met one of those evacuees. Doug landy at a recent public information meeting. He lives in the woods near the tiny town of isabella. That's a summer for mao for watching the forest to get compromised. He says the forest is tinder-dry from extreme drought and unusually hot weather earlier this week. Gusty winds sent the fire roaring through a chain of lakes surrounded by dozens of homes and cabins mike birdman and his wife got a call from the county sheriff telling him their cabin is still standing. But he's afraid at the forest surrounding it will look like a moonscape we're approaching seventy and it's not going to grow back in our lifetime and yeah there's just so much uncertainty it just like a slow motion disaster happening just to the north in the boundary waters wilderness rangers have paddled into warren campers that they have to leave. The original closure order was set to expire today but it since been extended at least another week. That's a big blow for the many businesses that count on these few months to outfit those campers. We have people from all fifty states who come here every summer to experience the boundary waters jason's aboard ski runs the outfitting company in the small town of ely which bills itself as the canoe capital of the world in august. It's usually packed with visitors. Canoe strapped to the tops of their cars. But not now and you know to have sort of this immediate closure and have to tell somebody who's traveled from texas or california and are like standing in front of us ready to go out for a week in the woods that actually everything's changed and your boundary waters vacation is off is really difficult. The forest service is encouraging tourists to canoe and camp in areas outside the wilderness. Ends aboard. Ski is trying to stay positive. But says there's nothing comparable the paddling into the amazing boundary waters itself

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