DULUTH (AP) -- Vacationers headed to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area this year better bring camp stoves and fuel if they hope to eat hot meals.
The U.S. Forest Service is preparing new fire rules for areas where high winds last July 4 blew down millions of trees and created a high danger of forest fires.
Campfire restrictions expected to be announced about April 1 likely will start soft and then tighten as forests become drier.
''If you come to the Boundary Waters, you'll need a camp stove to cook your food. You won't be able to count on a campfire with wood,'' said Tom Wagner of the Superior National Forest, which administers the wilderness.
For the parts of the BWCA unaffected by the blowdown, there will be no campfire restrictions to start. More than half of the 1.1-million-acre wilderness is mostly unaffected by the storm.
But inside the blowdown area, starting April 15, campfires will be allowed only between 7 p.m. and midnight, when humidity is usually higher and winds and temperatures lower, reducing fire danger.
The Forest Service, outfitters and others will offer maps showing where campfires will be allowed. Specific lakes will be listed.
If the fire danger rises to the moderate level, which is likely at some point during the spring and summer fire seasons, campfires will be banned altogether in the blowdown area. Also, the Kekekabic and Border Route hiking trails will be closed. And campfires elsewhere, including along the Gunflint Trail, will be limited to designated campfire pits only, and only in developed areas.
If fire danger moves into the extreme range, it's likely campfires will be banned across the entire BWCA and possibly the whole Superior National Forest, and some entry points into the BWCA in the blowdown area likely will be closed.
The exact map of the areas where campfires will be more restricted is still being fine-tuned, said Kris Reichenbach of the Forest Service, and the point at which restrictions will kick in hasn't been decided.
Some officials have called for an outright campfire ban from the start of the season. That's what officials at Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario have done, banning all fires in the blowdown area in the southeastern corner of the park.
U.S. officials are trying to weigh aesthetic and economic concerns against the increased danger of campfires spreading into wildfires.
''People love their campfires. It's a big part of their experience,'' Wagner said. ''We want to be safe without being stifling.''
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