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02/23/2024 07:33PM  
Do you hang your food at portages? How common is a fire ban in June?

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distinguished member(1440)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/23/2024 08:09PM  
I have never hung food at a portage nor seen it done. So hard to predict fire best guess: fire bans in June are more common than in May but less common than in July. Sorry if that is not helpful.
distinguished member(1065)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/24/2024 07:02AM  
Have never seen the need to hang food on a portage. Animals wouldn’t tend to be social with a crowd around.
I would say June is pretty safe for no fire ban. Spring time would be one of the wettest periods in the BWCAW.
02/24/2024 08:40AM  
Food: I never hang food; I use bear-resistant canisters and/or Ursacks to store my food. My food is largely low-odor dehydrated food contained in multiple layers of scent-reducing materials (OPsacks, Smelly Proof bags, etc.) that reduce the scent radius. YMMV.

When you pick up your permit you can find out about any known problems in your travel area. Although I've never done it, some have suggested leaving the food pack on the trail some distance from the portages if there are habituated bear problems there. I would consider that.

Fire bans are more likely later in the year when I normally go, but if this is an unusually dry year there may be one then. No one can predict for sure. I've gone under fire bans several times and it doesn't pose a problem for me. I rarely build a fire anyway and always cook with a canister stove. YMMV.

Your biggest concern would be that during a fire ban you can only use pressurized gas stoves with a shutoff valve - no fires, twig stoves, alcohol stoves, or solid fuel stoves. Be aware that even after you enter, rangers will come in and inform you that one has been issued and mark your permit requiring you to follow the guidelines for a fire ban.

Be prepared.

02/24/2024 08:46AM  
I have never seen or heard of a pack hung at a portage. It is extremely rare for a bear to go after packs on a portage. I’ve only heard of it happening a couple of times.

A fire ban is less likely to happen in June than July or August but it does happen sometimes. I was in the bwca last June during a fire ban and it was the driest I had ever seen it up there. It doesn’t take long to dry out as that winter had record snowfall and that spring was a late ice out.
02/24/2024 12:46PM  
In 2022 I was warned of bear thieving packs at the stairway portage on Rose Lake, however, I had no issue there as I passed through. I did tie off my food barrel to a tree. I was double portaging on a solo trip.
02/24/2024 02:46PM  
2 out of last 5 years we have had a fire ban in parts of June. Take that for what it is worth.
02/24/2024 05:08PM  
Sometimes on a portage I’ll use a carabiner to clip my barrel harness or food pack (I use a variety of methods on different trips) to my canoe, especially on a long portage. I paddle solo, so my food may be sitting at one end alone for a while. I am guessing that will substantially slow down a bear from grabbing and running, and the noise of the canoe being dragged may alert me and hopefully spook the bear - and hopefully not damage my canoe much!
distinguished member(1442)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/26/2024 04:21PM  
We have been warned by our outfitter several times about bears poaching food packs at the ends of portages. When we have to leave a food pack for an extended period, I will usually clip the pack to a tree with the hip belt. When we have a long portage to do, I will take the food pack in the first trip to our first rest area to avoid leaving it at a portage end. We have encountered bears at portage ends before. Once was fairly close to an entry and the other was about as deep into the BW as you can get and not be in a PMA.
02/26/2024 04:40PM  
tigag: "2 out of last 5 years we have had a fire ban in parts of June. Take that for what it is worth. "

A June fire ban is not uncommon. It happens.
member (31)member
02/27/2024 08:16AM  
Don't count on what is usual this year as far as fire bans. This has not been a usual winter and if the dry warm conditions continue there could be issues. There has been little snow across much of Minnesota and across central Canada. Apparently some of the farther north Canadian fires have continue to burn underground and will flare up in the spring. This might not impact the BWCA except for smoke. Bottom line is to be prepared with a stove.
distinguished member(991)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/27/2024 09:07PM  
Might want to think twice about reclaiming your food pack if it happens to you, now that the bears are packin’. ;-)

Bear Steals Camper's Pack Containing Firearm In BWCA
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