Wildland fire has affected Isle Royale’s landscape through time. Dense boreal forests are found on the northeast end of the island, and hardwoods dominate the southwest end. Fire promotes aspects of growth and health for each of these forest types, which in turn provides food and habitat for wildlife.
Isle Royale is 99% federally designated wilderness, where nature is the primary driver and humans merely visitors. No permanent structures or roads are permitted in wilderness areas, and this impacts how the park is managed across all divisions, including wildland fire.
Ninety-five percent of the park is in a Wildland Fire Use zone, which permits lightning caused fires in this area to burn, but all human-caused fires are suppressed. This policy allows fire to regain its stature as an ecological force on the island.
Fire at Isle Royale
Last updated: March 15, 2021