Iron Range DFLers want state to sue USFS over BWCA fireby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — A group of five DFL state legislators from the Iron Range is asking the DNR and the Minnesota Attorney General to sue the U.S. Forest Service over its management of the Pagami Creek fire, which is still burning in the Boundary Waters.
The lawmakers say the state of Minnesota owns thousands of acres of forest that was burned by the fire. They argue that because Forest Service officials chose not to put the fire out immediately when it began in August, they should be held accountable for the loss of valuable state resources. State timber sales help fund the state's K-12 schools.
The lawmakers, including State Reps. Tom Rukavina, D-Virginia, Tom Anzelc. D-Balsam Township, David Dill, D-Crane Lake, Carly Melin, D-Hibbing, and State Sen. David Tomassoni, D-Chisholm, say they've asked DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr to quantify the value of any lost state acreage lost. But it's still unclear how much of the roughly 93,000 acres of forest burned was state land, and how severely damaged it was.
A spokesperson for the DNR declined to comment, saying the agency had yet to receive a formal request from the lawmakers.