Fighting Fire with Fire in the BWCA

     It sounds like the USFS burnout was successful in keeping the Pagami Creek Fire from burning outside of the Boundary Waters so far.  The fire did increase in size and is at 2750 acres due to the low humidity and high temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Today’s forecast is for temperatures in the 80’s, low humidity and winds up to 10-15mph from the Northwest.  This should keep the fire burning into the wilderness and the 63 personnel on the fire busy.  There is rain in the forecast for Monday and cooler temperatures coming Wednesday, but the USFS has closed some areas of the Boundary Waters near Ely, MN.  It’s business as usual on the Gunflint Trail in spite of the faint smell of smoke in the air this morning.   

Fire Activity Increases on Pagami Creek Fire Prompting Temporary Closures

Incident: Pagami Creek Fire Wildfire
Released: 17 hrs. ago

Contact: Fire Information 218-365-3177


Fire Activity Increases on Pagami Creek Fire Prompting Temporary Closures


Ely, MN… Unseasonably dry, warm conditions and low relative humidities yesterday allowed the Pagami Creek Fire to burn actively south of the Lakes One and Two area. The burn out operation conducted last weekend was successful in reducing the threat of the fire escaping the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and threatening the Fernberg corridor to the north.

To provide for public safety the Superior National Forest is temporarily closing the following:

  • – As a precautionary measure the campsites on Lakes Two and Three will be closed. Visitors currently in that area will be contacted by public safety crews. Alternatives include returning to Lake One for those leaving the area before Monday. Visitors who will be in the Wilderness beyond Monday are asked to head east into Lake Four or beyond. People intending to visit Lake One are encouraged to find other plans or paddle on the Kawishiwi River.
  • – All campsites on Clearwater Lake
  • – The portage between Lake Two and Clearwater Lake
  • – The portage between Turtle Lake and Clearwater Lake
  • – The portage between Camdre Lake and Clearwater Lake
  • – The Powwow Trail

Public Safety crews will be contacting BWCAW visitors in affected areas to alert them of any safety concerns.

As the Pagami Creek Fire moves south it is continuing to provide resource management benefits such as preparing seed beds for pine regeneration and decreasing fuels for future wildfires. As the fire burns to the south it is reaching older burned areas. These earlier burns may function like fuel breaks and decrease the likelihood of the fire moving further south.

Paddlers are asked to avoid the fire area.

People throughout northeastern Minnesota have been experiencing smoke from the Pagami Creek Fire. The increase in fire activity means an increase in smoke as well. The location of the smoke will be dependent on wind direction. Anyone with a history of cardiac or respiratory disease should be aware that visitors to the Lakes One, Two and Three area are likely to experience heavy smoke at times.

Persistent warm, dry conditions have raised the fire danger throughout the area. Visitors are reminded to be careful with all fire use and ensure that their campfires doused thoroughly until cool to the touch.



For additional information please call (218) 365-3177 or visit