Boundary Waters Forest Fire Near Ely

     It’s that time of the year when the forest is starting to get a little dry.  The moisture in the trees is decreasing and the fire danger is increasing.  It’s always important to be careful with campfires in the Boundary Waters but especially when it is dry. There’s been a couple of new fires recently and one that has just increased in size.  Keep them away from us please!

Managing the Pagami Creek Fire an Interagency Effort

Ely, MN… Lightning caused the Pagami Creek Fire that was detected August 18, 2011 approximately 14 miles east of Ely in the Pagami Creek area. The fire is located within the borders of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) between the South Kawishiwi River, Clearwater Lake and Lake One. This high use area within the BWCAW is a favorite for visitors recreating in northern Minnesota.

Friday, August 26, 2011 a combination of low relative humidity and higher winds caused an increase in size from approximately half an acre to 130 acres. The rapid increase in fire size lead the Superior National Forest to request an Interagency Incident Management Team (IMT) to assist in managing the fire. The role of the Incident Management Team is to “monitor, confine and contain” the Pagami Creek Fire according to Incident Commander Greg Peterson.

The current moderate fire behavior is allowing the Pagami Creek fire to provide several benefits. Fire creates natural fuel breaks by reducing heavy fuel loads. It also helps to preserve the health of the ecosystem of northern MN.

The Pagami Creek fire will be carefully monitored to ensure that it does not become a threat to the safety of the public or firefighters. If there are areas that require containment, crews will use more aggressive firefighting tactics. Hand tools and saws may be used to build containment lines. Aircraft may be used to drop water on the fire. Fire may be used to fight fire by “burning out” or removing fuels from ahead of the fire.

There are no closures in place at this time. Visitors are asked to avoid the Pagami Creek area and immediate fire area. Incident Commander Greg Peterson stressed, “We will be working with the Superior National Forest to develop short term and long term planning to allow visitors to safely enjoy the BWCAW.”  

Additional fire information is available at  or by calling 218-365-3177.