Managing the Greenwood Fire Burn Area
Forest Restoration on Public Land & Resources for Private Landowners
Started by lightning, the Greenwood Fire was detected on August 15, 2021, approximately ten miles southwest of Isabella, Minn. in the Superior National Forest. Extreme drought conditions, dry fuels, high winds and fire weather led to the fire burning over 26,800 acres.
Nearly 9,600 acres of the burn occurred on federal public lands. Over 12,900 acres, approximately 48 percent, occurred on private lands and involved the loss of approximately 70 homes, cabins and structures.
What happens after the fire?
In October 2021, the Forest Service deployed a Burn Area Emergency Response team to assess immediate land stabilization needs related to soil and water quality. Fire line rehabilitation, hazard tree removal and invasive weed mitigation in the fire area is ongoing.
Forest recovery needs will continue to be assessed in 2022. Forest Service, state agencies and private logging companies are helping the forest recover through planting, tree seeding, timber salvage and monitoring for natural forest regeneration.
What is the Forest Service doing?
In March 2022, the Forest Service completed a 133-acre timber salvage sale on the Kawishiwi District near the Jackpot OHV trail. The purpose was to harvest forest products killed by the fire. This spring, the site will be planted with pine and spruce seedlings in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
The Forest is coordinating with Tribes, the state, private landowners and researchers to identify and plan additional forest restoration projects for the burned area this summer including tree planting, aerial seeding, and lake and streamside planting.
Private landowner resources
There are resources for private landowners impacted by the Greenwood Fire including reforestation (tree planting and seeding), wildland fire fuel reduction and mitigation, soil conservation, forest health issues, and land conservation.
- National Resource and Conservation Service – Duluth Field Office: Technical expertise, grant, and assistance opportunities for eligible private landowners. (218)720-5209
- Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District: Technical expertise, grant, and assistance opportunities for eligible private landowners. (218) 834-8370
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources with USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry: Forest Stewardship plan writing by certified plan writers, technical expertise, forest conservation initiatives, cost-share and assistance opportunities for eligible landowners.
Fire as a natural disturbance
Fire is an integral part of the natural ecosystem in northeast Minnesota. Many plant and wildlife species in the fire area are adapted to and depend on fire disturbance at various points in their life stages.
Large portions of this area will recover naturally. While wildfire is part of the ecosystem, the Forest Service recognizes the need to weigh public safety, multiple use such as timber harvest and recreation, and long-term ecosystem sustainability when responding to wildfires. Monitoring and research are needed for managers to continue to learn and adapt future practices.