Source: Superior National Forest | Lake County Emergency Management | MN DNR

The Greenwood Fire was detected on August 16th near Greenwood Lake on the Laurentian Ranger District. It is approximately 15 miles SW of Isabella. The fire is moving very quickly due to strong gusts of wind and dry vegetation and is estimated to be 2000 acres.

Evacuations are in effect for McDougal Lake, Sand Lake, the Highway 2 corridor, and just north of Highway 1. The Lake County Sheriff visited approximately 75 dwellings in the vicinity and either notified residents of the evacuation area or left a notice on the door if no one was home. If you have been evacuated and need resources, please call Lake County Emergency Management at 773-844-6449. You can sign up for emergency text alerts and calls from Lake County here: https://www.co.lake.mn.us/emergency-management/

Learn more about Superior National Forest Closures
Learn about Superior National Forest Fire Restrictions
Learn about MN DNR Fire Restrictions


ACRES:  26,112                   

ANNOUNCEMENT:  The Superior National Forest is loosening fire restrictions on the forest, thanks to a change in the seasons. Effective, September 8, 2021, campfires are allowed in most paid campgrounds only.  Visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/superior for more information.

SUMMARY:  Started by lightning, the Greenwood Fire was detected on August 15, 2021, at about 3:00 p.m. in the Laurentian Ranger District.  The fire started approximately ten miles southwest of Isabella. 14 primary structures and 57 outbuildings were destroyed on August 23.   The objective of fire management for the Greenwood Fire is full suppression using all available resources.

YESTERDAY:  Fire crews and tracked vehicles focused on the southern and eastern fire perimeter and located hot spots identified by infrared flights.   Crews cold trailed the edge until they found small pockets of buried heat in the peat soil. They often dug 2-4 feet deep excavations with hand tools and cooled the heat using water or by mixing with mineral soil.    Engines patrolled the Highway 1 and Highway 2 corridors and grapple skidders were used to pile debris in the shaded fuel break.  The debris piles will be chipped up at a later date.

TODAY:  Fire crews will continue to identify hot spots on the eastern and southern fire perimeters. Tracked feller bunchers will be utilized to clear trees on the southeast corner to help fire crews access the hot spots that are buried underneath.  J-5s, specialized track vehicles carrying water, will assist in cooling hot spots.  Firefighters will patrol along the Highway 2 and Highway 1 corridor.  Dozers will be used to further secure the fireline in the northeast corner where some heat remains.

WEATHER/FIRE BEHAVIOR: Fire will continue to burn slowly in the peat layer.  No fire movement is anticipated on the surface due to high relative humidity and low temperatures.  Unsettled weather will continue today with another chance of brief showers or thunderstorms with light rainfall expected.  A slight warming and drying trend is expected as high pressure builds in the region later this week.  The rain received on the fire area has not been enough to penetrate into the deep peat soil, which is where the fire is still active.

SAFETY & EVACUATIONS:  The Lake County Sheriff will lift evacuations for seasonal homeowners along the Highway 1 corridor on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.  Only full-time residents were previously allowed to return to their homes.  For information about entering your property and getting a checkpoint pass, call Lake County Dispatch, 218-510-0640.  Passes will be issued to homeowners at the checkpoint.  The McDougal Lake area remains closed.


  • Hwy 1 is closed from New Tomahawk Rd to Lankinen Rd.  Highway 2 is closed between Highway 1 to Highway 11.  Only residents/seasonal cabins with passes issued by the Sheriff’s Office may travel along these highways.
  • A Forest Service closure order is in place to protect public health and safety due to the Greenwood Fire.  It extends across the Kawishiwi, Laurentian, and Tofte Ranger Districts. On September 1 the closure order was updated to allow the use of Stony Spur Trail and a portion of Prospector Loop Trail which allows ATVs to travel safely from Babbitt to Ely.  To see the full Forest order and other Forest closures, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/superior.
  • A Temporary Flight Restriction for aircraft is in place over the fire area.

AIR QUALITY: Minnesota smoke outlook: https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/Minnesota. Additional information for the rest of the state can be found at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/current-air-quality.

FIRE RESTRICTIONS: Fire restrictions are being evaluated daily and are currently in place for the Superior National Forest and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for areas within state jurisdiction Cook and Lake Counties and northern St. Louis County.  Superior National Forest:  Fire Restrictions Order for more information.  Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: MN DNR Wildland Fire Information.