Heavy rain subdues wildfire in Zirkel Wilderness Area

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— The U.S. Forest Service is allowing campers and hikers to return to part of the Zirkel Wilderness Area after heavy rain helped to subdue a wildfire that had been burning for more than a week near the South Fork of the Elk River.

Closures being lifted are in the Wolverine Basin area and the North Lake Trail, also known as Forest Trail 1164.

The Forest Service reported about half an inch of rain fell on the fire during a recent 24-hour period.

"It's not actively burning right now, but it's still going to be smoking because it's been burning in heavy timber," Forest Service spokesman Aaaron Voos said Wednesday afternoon.

He added that the fire, which has burned an estimated 15 acres, still will be watched.

"If things dry out, and the wind whips up, there's still the chance the fire could kind of come back and become more active," he said. "We're keeping a close eye on it."

The fire was discovered July 22 about one mile south of the Three Island Lake trailhead.

It is thought to have been caused by a lightning strike.

The rugged terrain in the area and the low probability of the fire spreading prevented the Forest Service from sending in any firefighters.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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