Superior National Forest sets prescribed burn at Norwegian Bay

A map showing the two locations of the USFS Norwegian Bay, Lake Vermilion 2018 prescribed burns.

A map showing the two locations of the USFS Norwegian Bay, Lake Vermilion 2018 prescribed burns.

The Forest Service successfully burned approximately one-half of the Norwegian Point site, about 15 acres, today. Conditions were optimal for the burn according to Tim Engrave, an Assistant District Ranger at both the LaCroix and Laurentian Districts.

The US Forest Service plans to complete the two prescribed fire projects in the Norwegian Bay area of Lake Vermilion this spring, summer, or fall. The actual date of the ignitions is dependent on many factors including: fuel moisture, relative humidity, temperature, wind, etc.

These prescribed fire projects are located on the west end of Norwegian Bay of Lake Vermilion on the LaCroix Ranger District on the Superior National Forest. The project names, legal location, and acreage include:

 Norwegian Island T63N, R18W S13 (9 acres)

 Norwegian Point T63N, R18W S24 (30 acres)

The Norwegian Island and Norwegian Point Prescribed Fire Units are designed to meet multiple Forest management objectives. Using understory prescribed fire on the island will result in fuels reduction which removes needles and other surface litter and balsam fir to create and maintain a more open understory that will in turn reduce the potential for a wildfire to start and spread. On the point a broadcast prescribed fire will be used in the open with similar results of removing the needles, litter, balsam, and dead balsam fir.

Prescribed fire treatments also create a patchwork or mosaic of fire-resistant forest stands in the landscape that can also reduce the intensity of future wildfires. Precise ignition methods will be utilized to start the fires and natural and/or constructed lines will be used to control and hold the fires. Hose-lays supplied by water pumps or other water delivery equipment will supplement the holding actions where needed. Fire crews will monitor the prescribed fire until it is declared out.

On the island following prescribed fire in the understory (called an underburn), the lower limbs on pine trees are expected to turn brown due to the heat. This is not usually an indicator of tree mortality in the prescribed fire unit. It may take up to 2 years for the trees to lose the brown needles. Along the shoreline of Norwegian Point there are some standing balsam fir trees which will likely turn brown and die as a result of the prescribed fire.

Holding crews and ignition crews of firefighters and boats will be working directly on the prescribed fire while it is active. Fire crews may conduct preparations in the area prior to completion of the prescribed fires and continue to monitor after they are completed.