Rain slows BWCA blaze, stalls firefighters' effortsby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
Ely, Minn. — New rain in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is helping suppress the Pagami Creek fire, but it also put an early end to Wednesday's efforts to contain the blaze.
Firefighters were sent back to camp in mid-afternoon when rain combined with brisk winds and 50-degree temperatures made conditions dangerous.
Wednesday morning, 10 new crews began their assignments; five of the new 20-person crews are replacing firefighters who are rotating out.
Preston Lee will canoe to an area east of the fire with his Lone Peak HotShots team out of Utah, where they expect to work out of a primitive campsite for two weeks.
"It's what we signed up for," he said.
Fire behavior specialist Brian Jenks warned crews to watch for the effects of recent frosts.
"We've got some frost that has killed some of the lower brush, so when we start drying out we may have some reburn potential in some areas," Jenks said.
Officials are considering a plan to use explosives to clear a strip along the northern perimeter of the fire. As of Wednesday morning, the fire was 30 percent contained.
BWCA FIRE MAP
The icons contain photos of the burn area before the fire started. The icons show closed entry points. The icons indicate entry points that are still open to use as of Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011.
View Pagami Creek fire in a larger map