Welcome to the BWCAW blog of Ely Outfitting Company and Boundary Waters Guide Service!

See our websites at ElyOutfittingCompany.com and BoundaryWatersGuideService.com.

We are a Boundary Waters canoe trip outfitter, Quetico outfitter, and guide service in Ely, Minnesota. This Boundary Waters blog shares photos, stories, humor, skills, and naturalist insights from guiding in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Most entries are from our founder and head guide, Jason Zabokrtsky. He is the Boundary Waters Blogger.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pagami Creek Fire USFS Update - Sept. 16

TODAY’S MESSAGE: Doug Turman’s Northern Rockies Type 1 National Incident Management Team assumed management of the Pagami Creek Fire yesterday. The fire is still under the unified command of the Lake and Cook County sheriff’s offices and the Superior National Forest. Moderated fire behavior continued yesterday with the cooler temperatures, higher humidities, and lighter winds. Operations personnel made significant progress on both the northern and southern perimeters. Firefighters attacked the northwestern corner and pushed east along the northern perimeter. On the western flank, a crew began constructing line starting at Clearwater Lake and working toward the northwest. Sprinkler systems were installed on two portages. The southern divisions mopped up a small spot fire south of Bog Lake. Outside the wilderness, bulldozers were used to clear line and engine crews supported hand crews. A large spike camp has been established near Isabella. Additional fire restrictions go into effect today (see below).

·         Continue to provide for the safety of the public and firefighters.
·         Extend hose lays further east along the northern perimeter.
·         Continue to construct line along the southern perimeter outside the wilderness before attacking the flanks within the wilderness.
·         Complete water-safety training and other orientation with newly arrived crews.
·         Host a community meeting at the Isabella Community Center at 11:00 a.m.
·         Staff a Joint Information Center from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Kawishiwi Ranger District Office in Ely.

BWCAW CLOSURES: The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) closures remain the same. The following entry points are open: entry points along the Echo Trail (including Mudro); #25 Moose Lake (travel allowed only up the chain and to the west); #26 Wood Lake; #24 Fall Lake; the whole Trout Lake section (separate section south of the Echo Trail); #42 Brule ONLY; #54A Seagull ONLY; #55A Saganaga ONLY; and the small separate section northeast of the Gunflint Trail from #58 South Lake on the west to #70 North Fowl on the east.

ROAD CLOSURES: Road closures remain the same. Highway 1 is still open. Closed roads include
·         All roads north of Highway 1 from Forest Road (FR) 1468 east to Isabella
·         Wanless Road (FR 172) east to Cramer Road/Lake County Road 7
·         Cramer Road/Lake County Road 7 north to FR 354
·         FR 354 north to BWCAW boundary at Kawishiwi Lake
·         Wanless Road (FR172)

Staffed road blocks within Lake County will be at
·         intersection of Wanless and Cramer Road/Lake County Road 7
·         Highway 1 and Wanless Road
·         Highway 1 and Tomahawk Trail
The road block within Cook County will be Highway 3 just west of Sawbill Road. Additional closures may occur.

SAFETY: As of today, September 16, building, maintaining, or using a fire or campfire, including charcoal fires, wood-burning campstoves, and charcoal grills, is prohibited anywhere on national forest lands within the Superior National Forest, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Use of pressurized liquid gas stoves is allowed.

DATE OF DETECTION: August 18, 2011

CAUSE: Lightning

CURRENT SIZE: 100,000 acres

LOCATION: The fire started at Township 63 N, Range 9 W, approximately 14 miles east of Ely (within the BWCAW) in the Pagami Creek area between the South Kawishiwi River, Clearwater Lake, and Lake One. The fire perimeter from the north is Lake One, Lake Two, Lake Four, and Lake Insula. The perimeter on the east is the southern edge of Lake Polly and east of Kawasachong Lake, the northwest and southern shores of Square Lake, the western shore of Perent Lake, and the northwestern shore of Silver Island Lake, where the fire exited the BWCAW. The southern perimeter crosses the intersection of Island River Road and Lake Twenty-Nine Road, Twenty-Nine Lake, and the Isabella River to just inside the BWCAW at Bog Lake.

AGENCIES: Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and Superior National Forest

SMOKE CONDITIONS: Smoke may be heavy and widespread depending on wind direction and speed.

RESOURCES: One hundred firefighters from Arizona were added yesterday, bringing personnel up to 436. Five Type 1 crews and eight Type 2 crews are on the incident. Seven helicopters, including four National Guard Black Hawks, are assigned to the incident. Eight fixed-wing aircraft are assigned, including three float planes, two air tankers, and three air-attack planes.

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