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.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pagami Creek Fire USFS Update - Sept. 17

TODAY’S MESSAGE: The incident commander announced Friday evening that the fire is 8% contained. Also, fire managers were able to more accurately map the fire’s perimeter on Friday and decreased the acreage from an estimated 100,000 acres to a more precise 93,472 acres. Minnesota’s Governor Dayton, Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and Representative Cravaak toured the fire area on Friday morning. The fire remains under unified command with Cook and Lake Counties. Lake County Commissioners, the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team (IMT), and Aultman’s Type 2 IMT (based in Cook County) began a coordinated effort to develop an integrated evacuation and structure-protection plan for the southeastern portion of the fire area. An Ontario liaison arrived and will remain on the incident. Despite warmer temperatures, drier air, and slightly stronger winds on Friday, the fire primarily crept and smoldered along the ground. The fire will be more active today than it was yesterday, especially on the northern edge, because of increased southerly winds, stronger gusts, and very dry fuels. Most crews and air resources will be working on the northern and southern sides of the fire. As always, firefighter and public safety is the top priority.
·         Continue to monitor the 8% containment line.
·         Continue to construct and extend direct fire lines with saws, brush cutters, and dozers and lay fire hose on the fire’s perimeter.
·         Be on the alert for spot fires, and use fire crews to direct air resources to drop water where needed.
·         Host a community meeting at the Isabella Community Center at 11:00 a.m.

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: 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)


In Lake County, staffed road blocks will be at the intersections of
·         the Wanless and Cramer Road/Lake County Road 7
·         Highway 1 and the Wanless Road
·         Highway 1 and the Tomahawk Trail

In Cook County, a staffed road block is at the intersection of the Sawbill Trail and Four-Mile Grade so Cook County Road 3 north of that intersection is closed.

Additional closures may occur.

SAFETY: Public and firefighter safety is the highest priority. Forest-wide fire restrictions remain: building, maintaining, or using a fire or campfire, including charcoal fires, wood-burning camp stoves, and charcoal grills, is prohibited on all lands (federal, state, local government, and private) within the administrative boundaries of the Superior National Forest. Charcoal grills are allowed at private residences. Use of pressurized liquid gas stoves is allowed. With increased traffic due to the fire and grouse-season starting today, all drivers—the public and fire personnel—should be alert and drive safely.

DATE OF DETECTION: August 18, 2011

CAUSE: Lightning

CURRENT SIZE: 93,472 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: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and incident personnel are monitoring smoke conditions. Visit the following website for more information: pca.state.mn.us

RESOURCES: There are 510 people assigned to the fire. 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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