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National Park Service Final Update for Horne Fire

Isle Royale sent out the official final update on the Horne Fire that started back in August. The final count for the area burned is 335 acres of the national park. Original estimate for the range of the wild fire were over 500 acres. The wild fire started on August 10th from a lightning strike igniting dry underbrush.

The fire burned slowly until August 21st when strong winds kicked up embers and the fire, pushing north east across the archipelago. The fire threatened the preservation of historical buildings on Tobin Harbor and closing down hiking trails and camps near Duncan Bay. The fire started on the north east end of the park near the Duncan-Tobin Portage Trail.

The fire was allowed to burn out slowly as the seasons changed, as the national parks expected fall rain, snow and cold to put out the remaining hot spots in the area of the fire. The national park was assisted by the Grand Portage and Fund Du Loc bands of Lake Superior Chippewa. Firefighters from Buffalo River and Grand Teton National Parks, Hiawatha National Forest, and the State of Virginia. The park is now closed for the remainder of the year and will reopen April 15th, 2022. You can read the NPS Isle Royale Official Release below.


Park rangers closing Isle Royale in late October took one last look at the Horne Fire before heading back to Houghton for the winter.  At that time, the fire was continuing to slowly smolder in a few places, mostly in the thick duff layer.  Light smoke plumes could be seen on both sides of the Greenstone Ridge.  The fire was left to slowly burn itself out this fall and winter as rain and snow eventually blanket the island.   The final map, reflecting more accurate measurements of the burned area, showed the fire at 335 acres.  

The Horne Fire started on August 10 from a suspected lightning strike on the Duncan Bay side of the Duncan – Tobin portage trail.  It burned slowly until a wind event on August 21 pushed the fire and embers across the northeast end of the island, threatening historic structures in Tobin Harbor and closing multiple trails and campgrounds.  Firefighters from Isle Royale, Buffalo River and Grand Tetons National Parks, Grand Portage and Fond du Lac Bands of Lake Superior Chippewa, Hiawatha National Forest, and the State of Virginia traveled to the park to work on the fire control efforts.  

Below is the official map of the Horne Fire and photos from the National Park Service’s website. More photos of the fire can be found through the NPS Isle Royale gallery.


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