BWCA Pagami Creek Fire being left to burnby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — Fire crews are monitoring a wildfire that's grown to 130 acres east of Ely in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Lightning ignited the Pagami Creek Fire on Aug. 18. It smoldered for a week, then low humidity and higher winds caused it to quickly grow.
More than 100 firefighters are now on the scene, and fire information officer Kris Reichenbach says firefighters are preparing to burn out fuels between the blaze and two popular lakes in the Boundary Waters.
"We're planning this additional burnout because we want to increase that fuel break adjacent to Lakes One and Two and reduce the potential that if conditions line up again," she said. "We don't want the fire to be taking off and threatening the area outside the wilderness."
Reichenbach says the fire is not in a blow-down area, and it will actually provide a lot of benefits.
"It's part of the ecology, the regeneration of the forest, developing habitat," she said. "It is also is our friend in terms of helping to break up the continuity of fuels in the wilderness."
That means that if another fire breaks out in this region in the future, the burnout could help to slow it down, or even stop it in its tracks.
The Pagami Creek Fire has not caused any closures. Crews have put in sprinklers along the canoe portage between Lakes One and Two.