50° and Clear at 10:50am in Pine City

Huge Forest Fire Near Ely Growing, DNR Restricting Burning

Monday, September 12th, 2011 at 1:07 pm

A forest fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near Ely has more than doubled in size since Sunday.

U.S. Forest Service said Monday the Pagami Creek fire has grown to 11,000 acres, from 4,500 acres on Sunday. Apparently about 70 hikers and canoeists have been moved from Lakes Two through Hudson and the Isabella River. Several waterways, entry points and portages in that area have also been closed, including the popular Lake One and Isabella Lake entry points.

Bergerson says a crew of 20 firefighters paddled into the fire area Sunday night. She says helicopters and small planes were used to dump water on the fire Sunday.

The Forest Service says the fire was initially detected Aug. 18 and was sparked by lightning. The wilderness area includes more than 1 million acres within the Superior National Forest.

In response to this fire and the fear of other similar incidents the Minnesota DNR has issued burning restrictions in the northern half of Minnesota.

The statewide fire danger rating is “high” to “very high” in most of the state due to a low amount of precipitation and very low dew points. No burning permits are being issued for people wanting to burn brush in the northern half of Minnesota.

Campfires are still allowed in fire rings, but the DNR is asking hunters and campers to be especially vigilant.

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