Submitted photo

Illegal campfire leads to wildfire on Clara Lake near Lutsen

An illegal campfire on an island at Clara Lake in Cook County led to suppression efforts to contain what ultimately became a wildfire Thursday, Aug. 12.

Patty Johnson, the east zone fire management officer for the U.S. Forest Service on Superior National Forest, told WTIP Thursday evening the fire was burning at about a half-acre in size.

Video captured by a property owner from Clara Lake that was shared with WTIP shows a helicopter flying over the popular Cook County lake near Lutsen during the afternoon of Aug. 12. Thursday was a warm, dry and extremely windy day in Cook County.

Kylan Hill is a conservation officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Cook County. He confirmed with WTIP Aug. 13 that the fire is under investigation.

Violation of the campfire ban currently in place is punishable by a fine of $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, according to the Forest Service closure order signed July 9 by Forest Supervisor Connie Cummins.