Officials hope BWCA fire will be contained by Saturdayby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — Superior National Forest officials say they hope to have the huge Pagami Creek fire fully contained by the end of the day Saturday.
But they also cautioned that conditions may change quickly and the fire may take longer to contain completely.
Officials say the fire is now 59 percent contained, creeping and smoldering with minimal outbreaks. Seven-hundred eighty-nine firefighters are making steady progress on the fire and Superior National Forest District Ranger Mark Van Every expects that to continue.
"A lot of that's going to depend on the weather, and we are in a warmer, drying trend, so we may see some renewed fire behavior," he said.
That could slow firefighters' efforts as they work to put in fire lines around the entire perimeter of the blaze.
Officials are already planning rehabilitation efforts. They'll try to mitigate the impacts on the forest from bulldozers and other equipment. A Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation team will look at how to minimize soil erosion and the possible spread of noxious weeds.
This fall, forest officials will begin rehabbing campsites and portage trails. Most of the 2,200 Boundary Waters Canoe Area campsites were untouched by the fire. Van Every said only 10 to 12 will be closed for any length of time as a result of the fire.
"They're certainly going to look different in some cases than what they looked in the past, but they will still provide an opportunity for people to camp there and continue to use and enjoy those lakes," Van Every said.
Van Every said 125 campsites were in the area of the Pagami Creek Fire; 69 were affected to some degree.
The fire burned intensely in the Hudson Lake area and the southern end of Lake Insula, he said.
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 Monday, Sept. 26, 2011.
View Pagami Creek fire in a larger map
- All Things Considered, 09/26/2011, 5:20 p.m.