Firefighting in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park

     "It’s as dry as a popcorn fart" is what Grandma Darlene would say about the forest conditions in Northeastern Minnesota.  When you walk in the forest you can hear the crunch of ground cover and moss beneath your feet.  You can see the leaves on the trees changing color and falling to the ground.  You can smell fall in the air and smoke from not so distant fires as well.

     By the way the crow flies the Pagami Creek Fire isn’t too far away from the end of the Gunflint Trail. It started out small and increased in size with the burn out the USFS lit last week. The weather has been hot, dry and windy and that has caused the fire to grow some more.  We’ve experienced the smell and haze of smoke quite a bit at the end of the Gunflint Trail and folks on Seagull could see the plume of smoke yesterday.  It’s still a very small fire relatively speaking but the USFS would like to prevent it from becoming too big. 

     More firefighters will be called in to help manage the Pagami Creek Fire.  There were around 100 personnel on the fire until they were downsized to around 60 a couple of days ago.  My guess is the number will be back up to around 100 again soon. 

     It’s nice to have so many firefighters in the area because as they fly their planes and helicopters they can detect other fires before they become anything.  The Quetico Park has about 7 small fires burning and the Boundary Waters has had around 8 small fires detected.  One of the fires was detected so early it burned only one single tree!

     In order to prevent any future person started wildfires a partial fire ban has been implemented in the BWCA.  Visitors can have fires from 6pm-midnight only in the Boundary Waters.  The three minutes of rain today did little to quench the earth’s thirst sohopefully we’ll have a good rain(without lightning) soon.  Cooler temperatures and shorter days will help decrease the fire danger in the days to come.

     Until then and as always, use caution with forest fires and remember what Smokey says…