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Some trails reopen as Isle Royale wildfire continues

ISLE ROYALE NATIONAL PARK — As firefighters make progress containing the Mt. Franklin wildfire at Isle Royale National Park, some trails are being reopened.

Favorable weather over the past two days and efforts from the National Park Service and wildland firefighters slowed the spread of the fire, allowing firefighters to lay hose around the perimeter, the park said Tuesday. 

The estimated size was also revised downwards from 11 acres to 6 acres after personnel mapped the fire’s boundaries. Initial estimates coming from first responders are often adjusted, the park said. 

The park is also looking at an illegal campfire as the potential cause of the incident.

Aside from closures, there are minimal impacts to visitors, which the park expects to continue over the next few days. 

With adequate firefighting resources on scene and a weather forecast that indicates continued high humidity levels and minimal winds, fire behavior is expected to be minimal. As fire conditions have improved, some closures have been lifted.

Most significantly, the Rock Harbor Trail between Daisy Farm Campground and Rock Harbor is now open, allowing for continuous trail access between eastern and western areas of Isle Royale. Three Mile Campground has re-opened and Lane Cove Campground is open to water access, though the Lane Cove Trail remains closed. 

 While fire behavior is minimal, some tree torching has still been observed, and there is considerable concern about falling trees in the affected fire area. For the continued health and safety of visitors and employees, the following closures continue until further notice:  

n Greenstone Ridge Trail from the Ojibway Trail Junction, east to the Tobin-Duncan Portage Trail Junction 

n Lane Cove Trail (Lane Cove Campground is open for paddlers) 

n Mount Franklin Trail 

n Tobin Harbor Trail between the Mount Franklin Trail and Suzy’s Cave Trail (Suzy’s Cave Trail is open) 

n North side of the Three Mile Dock to allow unrestricted NPS vessel access 

n Cross-Country Camping Zones 8, 8A, 9A, 10, 11, 12, 33, 36 are closed for camping 

n Other areas if directed by fire personnel.

NPS wildland fire personnel and park rangers responded to the fire Saturday, joined later that day by a SEAT aircraft that dropped about 4,000 gallons of water on the site. 

Sunday, an incident commander from the Hiawatha National Forest arrived, joined by a fire crew of 10 from Minnesota. 

An investigation regarding the cause of the fire is ongoing. Investigators are seeking information about an illegal fire and associated camp on the Mount Franklin Trail Friday evening and into Saturday morning. Anyone with information is asked to submit a tip, which can be done anonymously. The tip line can be called or texted at 888-653-0009. It can also be reached online at nps.gov/SubmitATip or by email at nps_isb@nps.gov.

The fire status will be continually evaluated. Closed areas will be signed where possible and monitored to ensure compliance. These closures will remain in place until rescinded.  Additional information will be added to the park website at nps.gov/isro and on social media when it becomes available.

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