Fire burns on York Island in Apostles
On Aug. 21, visitors notified Apostle Islands National Lakeshore staff of a fire burning on the west end of York Island. Park rangers immediately went to the island to locate the fire and assess its size and intensity. Flames or smoke were not visible from the lake, but rangers tracked the smell of wood smoke to an area less than 0.1 acre in size near the island’s northwest edge.
The fire, now called the Cedar Fire, was ignited by a lightning strike during a storm in late July. It is presently smoldering slowly in duff and downed vegetation on the forest floor. Rainy conditions and high humidity have limited the fire’s growth to this point.
York Island is 321 acres in size. It is located in Bayfield County and is part of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The island has three primitive campsites located along a beach on the island’s north side and an inholding, which contains a stone monument to a local resident killed in Vietnam. The entire island is included in the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness.
At present, York Island remains open to public use. Park staff is monitoring the size and characteristics of this fire. As long as conditions inhibit its rapid growth, this naturally occurring fire will be allowed to burn itself out.
The National Park Service places the highest priority on the protection of life and property. If conditions change, and the fire begins to spread more rapidly, a plan is in place to limit the spread of the fire and protect York Island’s valuable resources.