Isle Royale wildfire causes evacuations from campgrounds, trails

Closures related to Isle Royale wildfire that started over the weekend. Photo courtesy Isle Royale National Park Facebook page. 

Crews are battling a wildfire on Isle Royale that was first spotted over the weekend and grew to approximately 10 acres in size. 

Part of the eastern half of the island, including spots at Rock Harbor and Three Mile Campground were evacuated over fears the fire could spread. Visitors at Tobin Harbor, Mt. Franklin, and the Greenstone Ridge trails were also brought in for their safety.

Several trail and campground closures are now in effect on the island as National Park officials await more fire resources.

Park staff first reported seeing a plume of smoke rising over the eastern side of the island early in the afternoon on Saturday, Aug. 13. At that time, officials believed the fire was about five acres large. 

The fire was later seen burning at the junction of the Tobin Harbor trail and the Mt. Franklin trail. By the late afternoon, the fire had doubled in size.

In an effort to keep the fire from spreading too far before more crews could respond, a plane from Minnesota dropped 4,000 gallons of water on the fire - about five loads from the single-engine plane. 

Isle Royale. 

This isn't the only fire that NPS officials have responded to on Isle Royale. Last year, crews battled the Horne Fire following a suspected lightning strike in August 2021. It burned an estimated 335 acres. 

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The following closures are in effect on the island:

  • Mount Ojibway Trail
  • Lane Cove Trail and Campground
  • Three Mile Campground and Dock
  • Greenstone Ridge Trail from the Daisy Farm Trail junction east to the Tobin-Duncan Portage Trail junction
  • Rock Harbor Trail between Daisy Farm Campground and Rock Harbor
  • Mount Franklin Trail 
  • Tobin Harbor Trail 
  • Suzy’s Cave Trail
  • Cross-Country Camping Zones 8, 8A, 9A, 10, 11, 12, 13, 33 and 36 are closed for camping as well as cross-country day use
  • Other areas if directed by fire personnel

NPS officials are asking if anyone was in the area of Three Mile trail, or the Tobin Harbor or Mt. Franklin trail who may know what started the fire to contact them. A release from staff notes callers wouldn't have to say who they were, but they would still like any relevant information.