DULUTH -

The Superior National Forest has canceled plans for four prescribed burns this fall within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Forest spokeswoman Kristina Reichenbach said Thursday that officials have decided to wait for better conditions next year.

The prescribed burns near the Gunflint Trail and near Ely are intended to reduce the threat of wildfires in areas where large patches of downed timber remain 17 years after a massive windstorm tore through the area.

The 1999 storm downed millions of trees across 500,000 acres of the forest, including 350,000 within the Boundary Waters. While officials say significant progress has been made toward completing a series of planned prescribed burns since the storm, the threat of wildfire persists in some blow-down areas.